Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Noting a Notable Shout-Out

Ellen Datlow, who edits - well, just about everything it sometimes seems - has posted a list of eight notable story collections from 2009. And she has listed Monstrous Affections, my own little bag of stories, as one of them.

Here's what she said, from her Best Horror of the Year round-up, and the post:

Monstrous Affections by David Nickle (Chizine Publications) is this Canadian’s first collection, although the stories in it were originally published between 1994 and 2009. That story from 1994, “The Sloan Men,” was chosen for the Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror: Sixth Annual Collection. Michael Rowe provides an introduction to a powerful collection.
She also shouted-out collections by Barbara Roden, Reggie Oliver, Simon Strantzas, Simon Bestwick, Gerard Houarner, R.B. Russell and Ralph Robert Moore.

But they can link to their own collections. Here's where to get mine.

A G20 moment...

There were so many G20 moments worthy of note here in Toronto over the weekend: the moments when black-clad droogs raised the world's consciousness about the dangers of fiscal restraint by setting police cars on fire, smashing store windows and lobbing mailboxes into roads; the moments where police boxed joggers, dog-walkers and Oh-Canada singing protesters into a downtown intersection for several hours during a torrential downpour; or when other police fired rubber bullets into a crowd of peaceful protesters outside their makeshift detention centre (a converted film studio that would see about 1,000 detainees - the largest mass arrest in Canadian history - pass through its gates), less than a kilometer from my house. Or there was the moment that most of us missed, when the leaders of G20 countries agreed it was time to start cutting their deficits and their spending, and posed for a photo op in front of a fake Toronto skyline, separated from the real skyline by a giant steel fence and a billion dollars worth of security.

I choose this one, before it all started, on the fake dock by the fake lake that my country constructed in the media centre of the G20, for somewhere between $57,000 and $2 million. In its saucy fakery, it is a nice moment - a far better moment to think of leading into Canada Day tomorrow, than all those real ones that came immediately afterwards.

-Thanks to Erin Hatfield for snapping this photo.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Aurora Awards - Thirty Years of Canadian Science Fiction (and me)

Well this takes me back. In 1991 (or so) Karl Schroeder and I sat down at a Brother portable typerwriter in a farmhouse on the top of the Niagara Escarpment, and banged out the line, "The man in the moon's smile began to slip. It turned into a leer." Which was the first line of "The Toy Mill," our story about a Satanic Santa (or maybe a Santa-ic Satan?) who wishes to destroy the world with wishes, and is ultimately undone by a very focussed little girl. In 1992, it appeared in Tesseracts 4, Lorna Toolis and Michael Skeet's edition of the long-running Canadian sf anthology series. (To give you an idea of how long-running ... well, I've got a story coming out in Tesseracts Fourteen this fall).

In 1992, to our cackling delight, the story won the Aurora Award for Best Short Form work in English. It was pretty early in both our careers, and that award meant a lot to us, and the story. It found its way into David Hartwell's paperback anthology Christmas Magic; Edo Van Belkom's Aurora Award anthology; the prologue of our novel The Claus Effect; and this spring, into The Aurora Awards: Thirty Years of Canadian Science Fiction, from Montreal's Nano Press.

My contributor copies came in the mail yesterday. It's a handsome volume, and it has a somewhat different mix than Edo's compilation more than a decade ago. There are newer stories - work by Isaac Szpindel, Julie E. Czerneda and Hayden Trendholm. And there are francophone stories, translated: work by Elizabeth Vonarberg, Yves Meynard and Laurent McAllister among others. And there's a mix of older stories by Douglas Smith, Candas Jane Dorsey, James Alan Gardner... all people I'm proud to share a table of contents with.

The book is tough to find on Amazon and other spots. It is dead easy to find over at NanoPress' site, right here.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Evelyn Evelyn - or, Breaking Up is Hard To Do...

It's particularly hard to do if you're trying to split with your parapagus tripus dibrachius twin sister - sharing as you do "three legs, two arms, three lungs, two hearts and a single liver."  Good thing that twin rock stars Evelyn and Evelyn Neville (aka Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley) seemed to be getting along so famously in Toronto last night at the Great Hall on Queen Street. 

Which is to say, it is time for yard-apes to brace themselves for one of the Yard's semi-regular, semi-coherent raves about the considerable gifts of Ms. Amanda Palmer and her ever-shifting crew of genius collaborators. They were in town Friday, touring for Evelyn Evelyn, a honky-tonk concept album / rock opera (think Tommy  by way of Geek Love and Sweeney Todd) about the aforementioned conjoined twins, and their picaresque, grand-guignol journey from trailer to chicken farm to Manitoba porn factory to circus sideshow to Myspace stardom. I picked up the album a couple of weeks ago and have been cycling through it on the mp3 player ever since. 

The live show was still a revelation. Amanda and twin sister Jason mashed themselves together in a gigantic frock for a long set of Method-acted piano, accordian, guitar and ukelele duets, while one-man-band percussionist and twin-handler Sxip Shirey handled the shadow-puppet show and proved that he would take a bullet for the twins. Or from them, if need be.

Below, a sample of the song Chicken Man (gone horribly wrong) posted by another attendee:

And here, some tracks from the album set to video from other shows, or by fans:

Bundle that in with the harmonica/music box/marble-in-a-bowl compositions of Sxip Shirey, the Slavic-influenced accordion and guitar set from Jason Webley, and Amanda Palmer's show-ending capper (aided by an unnamed, screaming young woman who came on stage to deliver a show-stopping interpretive dance to a show-stopping performance of Missed Me), and you've got nearly three hours of the best time anyone had in Toronto Friday night.

I post all this here, because as of last night, Amanda came out and announced that ticket sales were, for some reason, fatally unimpressive for her Saturday evening show in Montreal (that's tonight as I type this). She suggested this might be because people in Montreal lack the Internet - and might have been relying on her now-former record label Roadrunner to tell them the show's on.

I don't know about that. Last time I was in Montreal, everybody had the Internet. So in that spirit - for any Montreal-area, wired-up yard-apes looking for something to do on Saturday, June 5 - Evelyn Evelyn's coming to the Corona Theatre, at 7 p.m., in Montreal. After that, they're going somewhere else.

So check it out. And pass it on.