Jim Hines taunts the Intarwebz in a short but hilarious post (via Tobias Buckell).

George RR Martin had a brief surge of optimism about his progress on the next Ice and Fire novel. Let's hope he can carry the good vibes and finish that finicky beast of a book!

An unlikely tale that almost is too far-out to be non-fiction, The Luckiest or Unluckiest Man in the World? at the Times Online (via Jed Hartman's blog). The story of Tsutomu Yamaguchi, double A-bomb victim... Well worth reading!

Some links:

>> A Song of Fire and Ice video game rights optioned This sounds like a game franchise that might interest me. Even though franchise games (Star Wars, LotR) games in my experience are seldom great games.

>> Release day for Jay Lake: Green hits the shelves today.

>> Japanese weird: Cyber Figure Alice on sale now. In a must-see link for Idoru (W. Gibson) fans, this is a virtual girl/pet that you can carry around in your pocket. I need to look at it some more to figure out how it works, but the video is kind of interesting.

Brief sales (well, not sales, but activity) update:
  • submitted to Abyss & Apex magazine and got rejected after three weeks. Not sure whether it's a form rejection or not. It says the story was "well received here, but after some thought [the editors] decided not to accept it for publication". Probably form, but a form letter that is mindful of the author's feelings :-)
  • submitted to the Hadley Rille anthology Destination Future, just today, so no results yet. They seem to be quite fast to respond, according to Duotrope stats.

Still no mentionable creativity to report, I'm afraid. Surely the baby is still to blame, but still, it makes me feel uncomfortable from time to time. I feel I'm not living up to my own expectations. Then again, I realize on a more conscious level that I'm being too harsh on myself. A third child is a big change in one's life, especially if that child is born ten weeks early - with all the worry and stress that accompanies any birth.
Right now, the baby is relatively low-impact compared to our other kids, who were, quite frankly, terrible screamers... they both suffered from acid reflux - quite common, I know, but they had quite severe reflux problems.
Baby boy Nand does not have this problem - so far - but like all babies must, he puts in for a few hours of crying and general restlessness each day. Mostly in the late evenings, between nine and twelve PM. My creative hours, yes that's right.

So up to now, I have not touched my keyboard for anything other than some light surfing, Day Jobbery, and the occasional session of Sins of a Solar Empire. Cool game, that, by the way. A real space strategy game, in fact, many people think it's the first space strategy game that is really executed (almost) perfectly. It looks fabulous - zooming in and out between planets and star systems is a joy in itself - and the gameplay is very involved. All the favorite aspects of RTS games are present: resource gathering, technology development paths, building a fleet, pirate raiders, diplomacy, scouting, etc.
All in all, just the kind of game to idle away a few hours waiting for the baby's night feeding, and nothing too serious that suffers from frequent interruptions when he wakes up and needs to be picked up for a couple of minutes.

Anyway. I hope his sleeping pattern stabilizes just a little more, so I can get back to writing in earnest quickly.

I stumbled upon this cool little blog: http://blogoficeandfire.blogspot.com. It's the record of someone reading the novel(s) for the first time. The blogger, a certain Jason, has a nice down-to-earth style and tone that is quite funny when contrasted to the deadly seriousness of much of George RR Martin's writing... Enjoy.

In a delightfully phrased response to a reader e-mail, Neil Gaiman writes up a powerful reply to any fanboy who is outraged at the fact that the authors of their favorite series spend their time doing anything other than writing the next sequel.
You're complaining about George doing other things than writing the
books you want to read as if your buying the first book in the series
was a contract with him:..
Good point there. It's not because we fork over a puny fifteen dollars to buy volume one of a series, that we get any sort of claim on the author's time. Gaiman also puts it a little more strongly, with his characteristic direct verbiage.

In other news, I saw a powerful documentary on the landing at Omaha beach yesterday night - in between baby feedings. Amazing to hear the veterans talk about the build-up towards the landing, and how they were unaware of the danger that waited. They said "they were just going to do it" and they "did not think much of what was ahead".
Sadly for them, the Germans had fortified the beach in the months after the Allied decision to land there had been taken, and the artillery and aerial bombardments missed their targets completely, turning the beach into a desperate killing zone. I don't have anything useful to add about this, other than express my wonder at how those young people ever were able to jump out of the landing craft and press on, despite the carnage that surely they must have known (or did they really not see it coming?) must follow.

The internetz giveth, the internetz taketh. Just wanted to mention that while the net saps away a lot of time, as I am wont to spend far too much time browsing to my favorite author blogs, agent blogs, message boards and whatnot; but on the other hand, at some points the people you interact with there do stimulate you to get back to it.
A fairly chance conversation with someone on the sffchronicles Publishing board, followed up by some private messages, while not completely writing-related, has brought back the urge to write. And to write right now, tonight, as soon as possible. Strange how some little things do that to you.