Stephanie Burgis
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Random mysteries & exploration
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Today I got a mysterious package from Soft Skull Press, a small press I'd never heard of before. They'd sent me two new novels, Lonely Werewolf Girl by Martin Millar (which I'd already gotten last year as a Christmas present, actually, and liked very much), and The Pisstown Chaos, by David Ohle. The thing is, I hadn't ordered either of the books (or even heard of the second one), I'd never heard of the person who sent them, and there was no accompanying note to say why I had gotten them. My first thought was that the package must be related to the Andre Norton award - I'm on the 2008 Andre Norton Jury, so various people and publishers have been sending me copies of young adult fantasy and science fiction novels for consideration, which is lovely. Neither of these are YA novels, though. (I spent some time wondering whether LWG was supposed to be, in their eyes...but no, it's really, really not. One of the characters is 16, but that doesn't make it YA.) Then I wondered if it could be related to the fact that I used to review F/SF novels for Interzone up until a month or two ago (when I quit because I realized that the wonderful free-books aspect wasn't enough to make up for the actual reviewing-without-pay aspect)...but no, even if there'd been some confusion over that, all the books I reviewed were mailed to me from the Interzone editors.

So. Mystery! The good news is, I'd actually been annoyed at myself for leaving my copy of LWG in Michigan back in January, and now I have a new copy. And of course, if strangers are going to send me mysterious packages, F/SF novels are exactly what ought to be in them, from my point of view. My new theory is that maybe these novels are being sent out to all Active members of SFWA, for Nebula consideration???? Are there any other SFWA members who can corroborate this? Or is this delivery just one of those random Mysteries of Life?

(And speaking of those mysteries: how come the Mystery Package could travel super-quickly from California to here, whereas the books I'm waiting for with much excitement were shipped from New York on July 1st and still haven't arrived? And ditto for Patrick's tea from Paris, which is much, much closer? Sigh. The international postal system is mysterious indeed.)

In non-mysterious news, it's a cool, breezy day, and I'm about 1-1/2 pages into a new contemporary fantasy short story. I haven't gotten very far mostly because it still feels very tentative and fragile - if I push too hard, too quickly, it might all dissolve and leave me with nothing in my hands but fairy dust. I hope it does turn into something, though. I like the opening of it a lot. And it feels good to be writing again after my weekend off, even if it is in a very slow-moving, exploratory way.

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