Monday, January 14, 2008

"Yes, I Am Wonderful, Aren't I?"

When I was in Chengdu, Neil Gaiman told me that he was in the middle of a months-long publicity tour for Paramount. Me, I made two jaunts to New York City last week to promote The Dragons of Babel. One was to read at the New York Review of Science Fiction readings series, which I'll post about sometime later this week. The other was a 5 a.m. appearance, if that's the right word, on Jim Freund's Hour of the Wolf radio show on WBAI (99.5 FM). Which raises the question -- which of us is the more fortunate?

I'll answer that question, too. But first I should talk about the show.

It was an amiable, ambling two-hour-long conversation. As Jim warned beforehand, the time melted away quickly. I read a couple of short-shorts -- which led one caller to assume that was all I wrote -- reminisced about collaborating with Bill Gibson, denied ever being a cyberpunk, talked about Being Gardner Dozois, and so on and so forth. Those who'd like to hear what I had to say (but if you're reading this blog, surely you know more than enough about me already?) can find the show posted on Hour of the Wolf's own blog at After two weeks, it'll be put in Jim's archives, which stay online for something like eight months. I should mention that Lucius Shepard was on recently, and Jim says that his interview went on beyond splendid. Lucius is one of the great writers of our time. So that might well be worth looking into.

At one point in the interview, Jim Freund asked one of those questions that I'd always assumed they trained radio talk-show people not to ask. It went something roughly like: You're such a great writer, and so prolific, and you write both science fiction and fantasy and long and short lengths, from flash fiction to novel . . . and rather gushily on.

I could only smile and say, "Yes, I am wonderful, aren't I?"

(Here's a tip for any new writers who may be reading this: Readers are funny beasts. Those hearing the above statement were willing to take it under advisement. But if I'd said, "Actually, I'm not that good," they'd have believed me. Nobody knows why this is so.)

Afterwards, Marianne and I went out into the city looking for breakfast. The day was bright and new and particularly scenic, since WBAI is located at the corner of Wall Street and South Street, right by the South Street Seaport Museum, a photo of whose docks is above. It was Marianne's idea to come along, just because it tickled her to travel a hundred miles to New York City for breakfast. That's the sort of person she is.

So there's the answer to the question I posed at the beginning of this blog. In my totally unbiased opinion, I'm the more fortunate man because I'm Marianne's husband. Neil may well disagree with me on this one; he seems to be perfectly content with his own family. But what the heck. He can be as happy as he likes. No skin off my nose.


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