Stephanie Burgis
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Meals, Dust, Colds, and Other Random Stuff
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The best news first: Patrick's story "A Veil, a Meal and Dust" is up at Ideomancer, and should stay there for about a month. Woohoo! This was Patrick's second story at Clarion--the second story of his that I ever read--and I'm so glad to finally see it published. And with a cool illustration, too! :) The rest of the TOC looks darned good, too--I'm looking forward to all the stories. (And of course Nika and I were both pleased to be mentioned in his bio. Nika and her labrador cousin Suzy are about evenly tied for public recognition now, I think, since Suzy's been prominently featured in her person's philosophy conference papers....)

The not-so-fun news is that the cold that had been hanging about, waiting to pounce, ever since I went to Vienna has finally and spectacularly landed--about five minutes after I finished my job app, actually. So I guess I'm grateful--I managed to do my 2-week research trip, prepare and present my conference papers, and put together my Serious Job Application, all before it finally arrived to quash all energy and brainpower. Sadly, it still sucks. I'm starting to feel a bit better today, which is good because it's time to start grading forty long essays. Gaaah. At least this time they're typed, so I don't have to deal with the usual hassle of trying to decipher cramped test-time handwriting. But ohh, I'd prefer to have done it without the sniffles...

The good part about being stuck on the couch all of yesterday was, of course, that I got to do lots of reading. I was completely blown away by Guy Gavriel Kay's Sailing to Sarantium--definitely the best novel about Byzantium (under a different name) and Justinian & Theodora since Gillian Bradshaw's The Bearkeeper's Daughter, which introduced me to the period in the first place. I hadn't read any Guy Gavriel Kay for years and years, but his recent Locus interview intrigued me enough to pick up The Lions of Al Rassan, which I enjoyed a lot. But not enough to prepare me for just how good Sailing... was. Read it! It's got (really, honestly) exciting chariot races, cool, weird and entirely believable magic, and a restrained writing style that conveys an incredible depth of feeling. And, hey--it's just really fun.

I'm now reading Mary Gentle's Ash: A Secret History, which is also fun in different ways, although I'm not as impressed by it as I'd expected to be. (Most of that just has to do with personal biases and some fairly hypocritical stuff that I'm too embarrassed to admit to in public.) However, I am unreservedly enjoying all the academic in-fighting sections that are interspersed with the main novel. I'm always happy to have academia parodied in fiction, and Gentle does it really well.

Bleagh. Back to grading. Or maybe soup.

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