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They rose to their feet, shouting: fistfights breaking out all everywhere, women and men tangled in their outrage. The weakest fled the roar of the voices, and the music became nearly inaudible; for a brief, mere instant — less than half of an hour — the elite of what many considered the planet’s most important cultural metropolis were reduced to savages, unthinking beasts seizing one another by the throats, their riot a pagan dance that secretly would rage on through the century, occulted by their modish fashions, their careful eyes, and their serious looks.
Is this where to begin? With the things we know to really have happened that long-ago night in Paris? I cannot be sure: my mind is too ruined by years of high school kids butchering melodies, slashing out rancidly off-key harmonies on their cheap violas and cellos, all as if in revenge against parents who forbade them the electric guitar, the drum kit, the dream of groupies and stoned hotel orgies. These children have ruined my ear, have sapped my heart of the love I once felt for conducting, for hearing youth joined together in music-making.
Yet, ruined as I am, I am still remain a musician, and every musician can tell you how much this decision matters — this choosing of where to begin. Is it within the pages of the score? That final, intricate manuscript is crucial, those staves laid out in black ink against the blank whiteness of the paper — paper, a thing of civilization in itself. Those pages, crisscrossed by perfect, orderly lines, and the jagged themes cutting across them…
From “The Rite,” collected in Bibliotheca Fantastica, edited by Don Pizarro (Dagan Books, 2013).
|What I Write||
I’ve published many short stories, mostly a mix of SF, weird, and Lovecraftian tales. However, right now I’m working on a novel set in early Georgian England, right at the place where science and magic begin to separate. Alchemists, brewers and distillers, criminals and mollies and other members of the underground, radicals and revolutionaries of several stripes, and even rats get in on the action.
My short story “Focus” was in the May/June 2017 issue of Analog.
A complete list is here:
I’m going to try finish drafting my novel, which is set in 1736, during the Gin Craze in London, and concerns alchemists, gin distillers, brewers, proto-feminist revolution, the criminal underworld, mollies, the British navy, sentient animals, and yeast from outer space. I’m about 90,000 words in right now, and I think I have probably 75,000 words left to go. Maybe a little less…
Well, I’d like to help raise funds, but I rarely get sponsored much. We’ll see?
How about this: My top sponsor will be tuckerized as the victim of something terrible in the story. I’ll work in his or her physical doppelgänger, for the purposes of wreaking grievous harm on the poor figure. Would you like it to be your look-alike to suffer such a terrible fate in the book, just so you can enjoy a cameo appearance? If so, you know what to do: sponsor me!