Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin Has Died

I can't even begin to explain the huge influence George Carlin had on my sense of humor, much less my entire way of thinking. My sister turned me onto him in the early eighties with his 'best of' album Indecent Exposure. I taped it, shared it with all of my friends outside of school and even shared it with my mother (what was I thinking there?). Shortly thereafter, we discovered his HBO specials and the world was never the same.

His comedy became meaner and angrier in the last ten years and there was more commentary than before, but when he wanted to be funny, he'd still get me. Even at seventy years old the guy could have me in tears, I was laughing so hard. One reason that I was in awe of him was that even after fifty years in comedy, his act was still one of the most offensive and provocative out there. Who else could say that? Who, in any profession, spent forty years on the cutting edge?

George Carlin was insane, immature, biting, ridiculous, brilliant, insightful, and a host of other magnificent adjectives. From him I learned the term "Mongolian cluster fuck," and I always think of him when my dog freaks out upon my return from getting the mail at the end of the driveway. The world has lost someone special and important. I'll close with my favorite Carlin line:

"I never had a ten, but once I had five twos."

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Our Story So Far

I've added twelve stories to The One-Thousand this year. By that I mean, I've added them not to this blog but to my ultimate goal of one thousand stories sent to editors by the time I'm fifty. I guess naming your blog after your goal can get confusing, especially when you're blogging about your goal. Although I need to work faster in order to achieve the goal, I'm still happy because last year I only added five stories, and the year before that only four. If the year ended today, it would still be my most productive year so far in terms of number of stories, if not words written.

I'm working on a novel around the edges. I imagine I've mentioned it here before. It's called "The Inner Workings of the Artificial Mind." This will count as part of The One-Thousand when it's finished and whatever year it's done will certainly be a record-breaker in terms of words completed. I only count words sent to editors as words complete when I mention that stat here.

I have 3,959 days left to complete The One-Thousand. I have 970 stories left to complete. It boils up to a story every four days. I'm not at that point yet and because I'm not, there will come a time when I'm down to having to complete a story every three days or less. I hope I'll have more free time when I get older.

Signing off now to go work on stories.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Aural Delights #29

This week StarShipSofa is pleased to present:

Aural Delights No 29

Main Fiction: The Last Science Fiction Writer by Allen Steele

Poetry: Time Travel Verb Tenses by Laurel Winter

Flash Fiction: Downtown by John Kessel

Fact: Science News by Jim Campanella

Narrators: Diane Severson, Grant Stone and Mark Nelson

This podcast is brought to you by Download a free audiobook of your choice at

Great show this week, I just listened to it myself. Click and enjoy!

Sweet 70

Story number 70 just went out: Firepower.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Herb, Accelerated

By Matthew Sanborn Smith

Herb could only count to four because he always wore mittens. The world, full of more than four things, overwhelmed him. He cried. Once, when a low flying snowball tore the mitten from his hand, the world suddenly became a more manageable place. The things that were grouped in more than seven were far less than the things that were grouped in more than four. Herb felt that his intelligence had increased by seventy-five percent. He lorded it over his friends, shunned his wife for never believing in him. Never again would he re-mitten his red, numbed hand. Of course, it never occurred to him to remove the other mitten. For even sporting seventy-five percent more brain power, he was still pretty dumb.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Today on the StarShipSofa

Hello Everyone. I've acquired a new piece of life as a promotional guy for my favorite podcast, StarShipSofa, so you'll be seeing posts from me here as new episodes come out. See here:

Today's show:
StarShipSofa, The Audio Science Fiction Magazine, presents:
Main Fiction: Secret Life by Jeff VanderMeer
Article: Fouque by Amy Sturgis
Flash Fiction: Toujours Voir by David Brin
Poetry: Confessions Of A Body Thief by Bruce Boston
Narrators: Grant Stone, Jim Campanella, Julie Davis
This podcast is brought to you by Download a free audiobook of your choice today at

Interview in iProng!:
Learn about the inner workings of the StarShipSofa and her captain, reformed pyromaniac Tony C. Smith, in the June 10th issue of iProng.

Coming Soon:
The Sofa touches down in Paris for its first ever video transmission! An interview by Tony and Ciaran with science fiction and fantasy legend Michael Moorcock. Details to come!

Monday, June 02, 2008

The Sexiest Story Number

Story 69, The Guy Who Made Only McDonald's has been sent out into the wilderness to fend for itself. Wish it luck. In the words of Ned Flanders: "Godspeed, little doodle!"

Sunday, June 01, 2008

I’m Taking My Books And Going Home

I have snapped. I have flipped. I am swan-diving into the abyss. Whyzat, Matt?

Because you guys are bringing me down.

This isn’t just about the blog comments, e-mails and forum posts of the last week. This is about the blog posts and comments, emails and forum posts, editorials and everything else from the last few years. The genre-bashing has reached felonious levels. I have read (and yes, partaken in) so much sub-genre and author clobbering that I’m starting to feel nauseous. And I can taste the blood and bile burning up my esophagus.

The field is in decline, we say, and what’s more, it’s the fault of the writers. The jargon’s too thick, the gateways aren’t there, no one is writing real Hard SF anymore, Mundane is a stupid idea, Fantasy is taking over, where’s the sensawunda, no one has any new ideas.

The Golden Age of science fiction is twelve, yes, we all know that. I’m not sure what age you haters have reached. Whatever age it is, I’d say it’s the Raw Sewage Age of science fiction. Apparently, it has all turned to shit.

Consider the towel thrown in.

Guys and Gals, I love you all and I know that not a one of our hates weighs that much. You still enjoy the field. But the accumulated crush of the pig-piled lot of our snipes has finally squashed me.

I no longer care if the Big Three mags are in decline. I no longer care if there is a dearth of gateway books for young science fiction readers or our mainstream friends. I don’t care that no one is reading and video is overtaking us and Harry Potter has doomed us all. I don’t give a shit about Hard or Soft or F vs. SF, analysis, book sales or the state of the field.

I’m taking my books and I’m going inside. I’m going to go to my room, sit on my bed, spread out the tales before me and enjoy my stuff. I’m going to savor the evocative prose of the masters and delight in their mad ideas. I still have untold Bradbury to explore. I still have Clarke that I haven’t read. I still have untouched Simmons and Lovecraft and Brin and Haldeman. Today I delved once more into the thick, art deco glories of Saint Gibson’s fantastic, psychological, anything but science fictional, “The Gernsback Continuum” and I gleefully anticipate his next novel, again likely to be rooted in the near past. There are a few Howards and Herberts I haven’t gotten to. There are rich, untapped veins of Ellison, Lem, Wilhelm and Delany! And there are countless other names I haven’t even picked up yet. Watts, Reynolds, Banks -- I salivate as I type this.

Yes, I’ve been disappointed. I’ve read crap. But I’ve also read so much good stuff and I’m looking forward to reading so much more that I’m still excited! I can’t wait to pick up the next book or mag or computer screen and dive into some past or future award winner or overlooked treasure.

You folks read fast, much faster than I, that’s a fact. You’ve already devoured everything that is good. Your crops are gone and your fields lay barren. I can’t imagine having tackled all that’s worth tackling, but you’ve done it and they don’t write ‘em like they used to. Your future is dystopian bleak.

I’m done arguing or recommending. Your time in the field has passed and I mourn your loss of summer days when ink met paper and stars were born of galactic furnaces. The full-on pressure of our years of e-bitching together has popped me. If only I had spent that time reading more stories.