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After Long Absence

I have turned in a draft of THIS SHARED DREAM to David Hartwell at Tor, and await his response.  My nascent blog, begun two years ago, went into a long hiatus after my mother passed away, and, with a book under contract, I plunged into research and the fitful, frustrating, and rewarding process of writing a novel.

The big news last year was that IN WAR TIMES won the Campbell Award; it was also the ALA’s Best Adult Genre Novel of 2007.  As those of you who read IWT know, my father Thomas E. Goonan’s WWII memoirs, written and edited by him, were the backbone of the novel, and he went to Lawrence, Kansas with me to be recognized at the ceremony. 

2009 has been a busy year.  In January, I heard that I was one of four finalists (Bruce Sterling, Tim Powers, and Nalo Hopkinson were the others) interviewed for the post of Professor of Creative Writing at UC Riverside, but I was not selected.  It is moot now, as the post has been dropped because of California’s budget debacle.  It is unfortunate for two reasons:  Nalo, who got the post, would have done a marvelous job, and because the post required a concentration on teaching the writing of Science Fiction, New Weird, Slipstream, Interstitial, ect., which is quite unusual in our stratified two cultures of writing here in the US:  High and Low.  More on this issue soon, but on my web page at www.goonan.com, there is a link to a talk I gave at the Library of Congress for the sf fan club of Library employees touching on this issues.

During the winter of 2009, I took a four-day workshop with Alan Cheuse in Key West, stepped up my bike-writing and swimming, and chose gloriously brilliant and saturated Caribbean colors for our tiny conch (old-timer’s) home in Florida–deep sky blue, golden yellow, and a reddish pink.  Most houses around us are painted in meek, drab, Palm-Beach-Fitting-In shades of brown, chosen by those who rushed in the early nineties to snap up all the houses and flip them, so I am immensely pleased.  Also, of course, I wrote. 

We entertained the Haldemans, friends from Cleveland (a marvelous evening of playing guitars, singing songs like Truck Stop Girl, Heartlessly Hoping, For Free, Friend of the Devil, and such, often refreshing our memories with lyrics from the internet), relatives, and neighbors.  I arrived at ICFA, and spent a wonderful evening discussing philosophy (one of my double majors, along with English), religion, and literature with Jim and Kathy Morrow and Patrick O’Leary, but had to leave the next morning because my father was in the hospital; he has since recovered.  Guesting at the Eaton Conference, and, in June,  and the SFRA Conference in Atlanta (where I heard a great paper about CRESCENT CITY RHAPSODY).

“Memory Dog,” shortlisted for the Sturgeon Award, came in second.   It was a very strong list of about twelve, and, though of course I wish that the story had won, I was pleased that it placed.  If you wish to read it, it is available right now with a one-click at your favorite online bookseller, or in bookstores, in YEAR’S BEST SF: 14, edited by David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer.

Presently, I’m reading BORN ON A BLUE DAY, by a high-functioning Asperger’s savant:  fascinating.  I love books that illuminate how the brains of unusual people work.  Also, SEDUCED BY HITLER, about how ordinary Germans functioned and felt during the Nazi regime (more on that later), and about ten other books, on which I will eventually comment.  Just finished THE COMEDIANS, by Graham Greene, whose work I save for dessert after finishing a project, along with Ross Thomas.  SEX AND WAR, for my ongoing novel, is by two physicians who have been on the front lines of conflicts in the past decades, in which they present their theories about what causes war.

In fact, most of my reading in the past year has been research for THIS SHARED DREAM, and I will post short reviews of them in time.  I do want to have a painting interlude; painting has been quite bottled up lately due to time constraints, and Painting Woman becomes impatient when Writing Woman prevails. 

But soon, I must ship several hundred copies of CRESCENT CITY RHAPSODY to the bookstore at Virginia Tech, where it will be taught there this fall (Joe Haldeman taught it at MIT a few years ago).  Veronica Hollinger will teach QUEEN CITY JAZZ this year, too.

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July 11, 2009   No Comments