Sunday, May 27, 2012

Short Fiction Sunday

I love Samantha Henderson's "Beyond Calais" from a couple of weeks ago in Strange Horizons. It's a story of wild airplanes and those who try to tame them and press the beasts into military service. It's more than that,of course, with a lot of fun and thought-provoking things going on, but I think as soon as I realized these were engine-driven, propeller-powered airplane-beasts, I knew it was my kind of story. It could have easily become cutesy, but instead it's an accomplished and entertaining story.

Another excellent story of late is Catherynne Valente's "A Hole to China" in Lightspeed. There's an Alice-in-Wonderland sense of whimsy to this story of a girl who discovers a way into a bizarre underworld. A lot of times when stories seem to aim at the same nonsensical dream-world that Lewis Carroll led us doesn't seem to work well. You end up with nonsense without anything more, or you end up with a pale imitation. But Valente succeeds in this story at creating a story that holds together and doesn't seem derivative.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Detroit Salt Mines

I love this post from io9 about the Detroit Salt Mines and I had to look around for other articles about them as well. Either 50 miles or 100 miles of roadway (depending which of those articles is accurate) through some 1,500 acres of solid salt deposits, nearly 1,200 feet underground, beneath even the rock that forms the bed for the Great Lakes. Now I love lost/abandoned type places in general--like Seattle's underground ghost town that Lauren told me about a year or two ago--but I practically lived right above these. The northwest edge of the mines came within about a mile of where I lived for four years, within a few blocks of the hospital where my son was born. And I never knew. Granted, it's far below ground, so why should I know? And they'd stopped doing tours two decades prior to that, but still...

I love the fact that the huge tractors and other equipment are all still down there, since it isn't worth taking them apart to bring them up. And that there was a machine shop down there for putting the equipment together in the first place. The fact of the mules living their entire lives down there is a sadder one (is there a mule cemetery down there in the salt?), but fascinating as well. It makes me wonder about the logistics of that. How many mules did they have at any given time? What kind of paddock did they have for them, and who was in charge of their care? Makes me want to write a story about the salt mine's mule tender...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Poem at Every Day Poets

My poem "A Poet's House" is up today at Every Day Poets. It's sort of funny to see it now, in that I wrote the poem in the very brief time when we'd started looking at the place where we're building a house, but still thought it probably wouldn't happen now. It was really just a matter of a few days when we thought we'd have to wait until another year or so, but that was when I wrote the poem. Despite having sold the house with the sun-robbed bamboo, it's still an idea I can get behind. Does it set me up for actually writing a poem every day after we move in, though?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Turtle car?

And if towering carnivorous plants aren't your thing, what about car-sized, crocodile-eating turtles?

Hmmm, someone should write a story about a turtle that actually is a car...

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Towering carnivorous plants and their insect body-guards

Tell me this doesn't make you want to write a story about it... Up to 65 feet tall and in a symbiotic relationship with ants that live in its roots and chase off dangerous weevils. Pretty cool stuff.