>Oh, it’s been too long, but this time, I have an excuse – the nasty flu, which hit eight out of ten people in my office. I’m still choking on phlegm, which is going on eleven days. And that’s about all I’ll say about that.

But what I DID want to bring to attention today is one of my favorite short stories to appear in an SFF magazine in the last few months: Gio Clairval & Jeff VanderMeer’s “Lizard Dance,” which appears today in Fantasy Magazine. I was lucky enough to get to read this story from the first incarnations to final, and it’s just as moving today as it was that first time. Go, read!

In an unrelated note, over the weekend, I read about how most cows are slaughtered. Did you know they’re all (mostly) alive as they’re skinned and their legs are cut off, and sometimes still conscious? Less blood in the meat! (This is why if you can’t give up meat, kosher is great. A quick throat slash, and over. No pain. No torture.)

We had soy lasagna on Saturday night, with freshly made French baguettes. We had eaten half of it before I remembered I wanted to take pictures. But the soy tasted exactly like hamburger, with the right spices added: basil, oregano, parsley, some red pepper flakes, and the consistency was perfect. Choose soy! Unless you know where your meat came from. Although, of course, even the happy non-factory-farmed meats aren’t guaranteed happy slaughtering, which is just one more sad thing about the whole meat-eating experience, and terrible factory farming, which is all about profit. If we raise animals for food, I believe they deserve happy lives.

I was talking with John about this over the weekend – what it’s like to know all this information, and where it leaves us now. I feel a great deal of sadness over my ignorance, specifically in the last ten years or so, when I realized I don’t really digest gluten, and so I went protein-crazy (or no-carb), like most of the diet crazes today. What if I had just known about this? What if I had just been aware? There’s no way I would have eaten meat, and I’d be going on ten years of vegetarian living instead of a month. And it makes me want to pass this book around, and say, just read it. Then, no matter what you decide, at least you can say you’re not ignorant. Although, in the long run, it’s up to each person to educate themselves…

***

I’m in a bit of a writing slump. I’m not sure if its emerging tax-season panic, or just ambivalence at my current view of the markets, and those who seem to be calling the shots. One of my friends (who is an excellent, excellent speculative fiction writer) mentioned to me the other day that the markets are seeming inbred and bloodless, as the people who are reading the SFF magazines are SFF writers, learning what these SFF magazines like to publish, writing that way, and it’s an endless roundabout of same-genes and ideas. With a few exceptions, I completely agree with him, and I think I’ve been trying to tailor my writing to fit that, (when it really doesn’t), or twist a certain piece in a way it doesn’t want to be twisted. That’s one of the reasons I’ve found stories like “Lizard Dance” so captivating, because it doesn‘t fit that mold (which is appropriate for Gio & VanderMeer, who, separately, defy molds on a regular basis). And tomorrow on Lightspeed, Ken Liu’s “Simulacrum” will be up, which I thoroughly enjoyed as well (just as good, if not better, as his “Tying Knots” for Clarkesworld, which I caught in a moving audio version.) The good, daring, unique stuff is out there – you just have to look a little harder.

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