Kirk Polland fades from view

Have you heard?  Readercon is happening this weekend, somewhere down in Quincy.  I know a handful of people who are going  (one of whom wrote the book in the accompanying photo.  It is a good book.  You should buy it.)

I also know an even larger handful who used to go but don’t anymore. I now appear to be one of that second group.

The Readercon con  committee had a big break-up a few years back. and part of the fallout from that animosity was the end of the Kirk Polland Memorial Bad Prose Panel. Not that this is anywhere near the tragedy of a lot of stuff going on in the world today, but old Kirk was fun to do, and thoroughly entertained a large group of con-goers. It was a highlight of my summer. I always feel a bit sad when the Saturday of Readercon goes Kirkless once again.

Eric Van, one of the founders of Readercon and the creator of Kirk, lives in hope that he can bring the event back to the convention, but I become ever more doubtful. The con has scheduled a non-Kirk special event for Saturday night, which at least sounds a bit more interesting than what they tried the past couple of years.

Kirk can certainly live on elsewhere.  Boston’s mid-winter convention Arisia would be happy to be Kirk’s new home, and other people associated with cons up and down the East Coast have wistfully suggested that they would love to see a special edition.  But I’ll still miss the laughter, the outright silliness, and the threats of defenestration that made Readercon so special to me.

What? You mean I can actually blog on this here Machine?

Image

After injuring my back in a fall down my icy front steps, I have completely fallen off the blog wagon. Well, no more! I will actually be getting out of the house to attend the Maynard Book Fair at the Maynard Public Library this Saturday (all of two days from now) I’ll be joining Christopher Golden and James A. Moore in talking about horror, fantasy, writing, cool movies and how all three of us survived being officers in HWA. 12 noon. Be there or be square.

(I was going to insert an appropriate book cover and amusing caption here, but wordpress isn’t letting me load any images. Double drat!)

Still, you can find more information here: Maynard Public Library

Apparently, I won’t be coming to Boskone after all.

This past Tuesday, the Boston area once again featured its usual variety of weather. Snow, sleet, freezing rain and just plain rain, all in a few hours time. I went outside Tuesday morning to help carry some stuff to the car, and put my foot down on one of our cement steps, which appeared to be covered with slush. Ice was hiding under the slush, and I went flying down the stairs, landing on my posterior. It hurt a lot, and kept on hurting.

When I got to a doctor, I found out I had sprained my lower back (along with a couple of other things). The doc said I was actually lucky that the fall didn’t do more damage. And then he said “This is going to hurt for a while.” Yikes. (Normally, when there’s pain involved in some procedure, medical professionals usually say “You may experience some discomfort.”) So I knew this was going to bother me quite a bit.

I’ve been told I can go back to doing things normally in a week or so, but at this particular moment I’m having difficulty doing advanced tasks like walking and getting out of chairs. Therefore, I’m pretty sure I won’t be attending Boskone this year. Which is a shame. The program (and my panels) looked like fun, I had something new to read, I know ma ton of people who are going to be there, etc.etc. And I ALWAYS go to Boskone.

Sigh. Hopefully next year.

(I feel this book cover is appropriate to the topic at hand)

Yes, amazingly enough, the cover for the audio book looks exactly like the one for the e-book!

Yes, amazingly enough, the cover for the audio book looks exactly like the one for the e-book!

Disregard that date!

I have been informed by my friends on Facebook that Boskone is actually NEXT weekend (Feb. 19-21). This means that the “Last minute post” I put up here to let people know I’d be at the convention was actually posted in an actual timely manner! Which never happens, unless I make a mistake. Thank you, Facebook friends!

Boskone and Dragons

Just a quick note to mention that, like many folks hereabouts, I’ll be attending Boskone in downtown Boston this weekend. I’m on panels Saturday afternoon and evening, and on Sunday will be moderating a panel on Action (!) in fantasy as well as reading a new story that has not yet seen print. I hope to see some of you folks there.

Speaking of fantasy, my e-book re-releases go ever onward. The Dragon Circle is now available for the e-reader of your choice. I’ll write more about this trilogy in a later post, but for now, I’ll post the first cover as a Visual Aid.Dragon Sleeping

This will be your final warning!

World famous artist and (much more importantly) my cousin JIM SHAW still has two major exhibits of his work on display until the end of January. I’ve written about the one up at Mass MoCa in the Berkshires, which shows much more of Jim’s fascination with superheroes, including a series of drawings combining William Blake reinterpreted in the style of Superman artist Wayne Boring.

I haven’t written as much about his exhibit in New York City, at the New Museum in the Bowery. This second exhibit is called “The End is Here”. It is an overview of his art throughout his career, including his early fascination with reinterpreting various artistic styles of our childhood with more modern, often subversive, themes. One painting, done in the style of Norman Rockwell, shows a pair of boys beside a hollow tree that they have filled with old issues of Playboy. These paintings often show monstrous or surreal images that connect directly to our lives growing up ion “middle America.”

The most fascinating part of this exhibit was a large room dedicated to the religion Jim invented, “Oism.” The walls are covered by large religious paintings and banners extolling the tenets of the religion, while the center of the room holds glass cases, filled with prints and books (some in foreign languages) that exhibit an Oist philosophy. Some of the books and prints and paintings were created by Jim, while others are items he found in his travels around the world selling his art. Unless you look very closely at the little cards describing the various pieces (and sometimes not even then) you cannot divide the real and the unreal. Standing in that room, it felt to me like I had stepped into an alternate reality, just slightly out of step with the “real world.” This, I thought, was the art world equivalent of the New Weird, a current movement in the world of horror fiction that concentrates more on the unsettling than the graphic. This part of Jim’s exhibit was just “not right” in the very best way.

Both of these exhibits continue for two more weeks. I think both of them are worth your while.

I close with the most popular image I previously shared about these exhibits. What would you call it?
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Arisia! Boskone! Actually Getting Out of the House!

Just a quick note here to let folks know I will be at Arisia in Boston this coming Sunday, talking about one of those subjects I know all too much about, the history of Batman. No Kirk Polland at Arisia this year, alas. It may come back to Arisia next year, or maybe not. There is far too much about the mystery of Kirk that is beyond anyone’s control. Then in February, I will be doing a bunch of stuff at Boskone. Over multiple days! More on that as the con approaches.

One of the panels I will be on at Boskone was cancelled last year because of the snowstorm that would not end. Let us hope we have better luck this year. I hope to see some of you fine folks at one or both of the cons. I hope not to see a great deal of snow.