Monday, October 20, 2008

A Terrifying Conversation

"I won't be writing anything more," my friend said.

"What?!" My friend was a serious writer, a significant writer, a writer with a following. True, there were some hard times commercially. My friend's most recent book was self-published. But -- never? "For real?"

"My last novel took so much out of me. Trying to sell it was an ordeal. There were so many times I thought I'd finally sold it, and then it would be rejected again. I just don't have any more energy. I can't do that to myself again."

"What will you do with yourself, then?"


Meanwhile, in a cheerier part of the world . . .

I've just received another starred review, this one from Library Journal, for The Best of Michael Swanwick, forthcoming from Subterranean Press any week now.

Here's the review:

Swanwick, Michael. The Best of Michael Swanwick. Subterranean. Oct. 2008. c.464p. ISBN 978-1-59606-178-1. $38. FANTASY

In one of Swanwick's earliest published short stories, a junior trade representative from Africa visits the United States, now ravaged by biochemical warfare, and is introduced to a uniquely American quasireligious ritual centering around the life of Janis Joplin ("The Feast of Saint Janis"). His most recent story, "From Babel's Fall'n Glory We Fled," takes place in a posthuman world where alien life celebrates and mourns its own creation myths. Spanning more than a quarter-century, the 21 short stories, including five winners of the coveted Hugo Award, demonstrate the author's breathtaking versatility and excellence of style. This first chronological overview of the short fiction by the author of The Iron Dragon's Daughter and The Dragons of Babel belongs in most libraries.

And as always . . .

Poem du Jour has been updated. This time, it's a gloom-cookie by Housman.



Linda J. said...

I'm sad for your friend, and wish him or her well.

Michael Swanwick said...

One of the thoughts that a working writer with serious ambitions dares not contemplate very often is that this is the common lot of almost all of us. All but a vanishingly small number are doomed to oblivion.

But it's particularly terrible when it happens while you're still alive. "From ghoulies and ghosties, long-leggitie beasties, and premature oblivion, Good Lord preserve us," as the writer's prayer goes.