Posts Tagged ‘Kurt Vonnegut’

A conversation with Robert Weide, filmmaker*, biographer and personal friend of Kurt Vonnegut will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday at IU Cinema, 1213 E. Seventh St.  For more than 30 years, Weide has been working to create a definitive documentary covering Vonnegut’s life and work. He will give a sneak preview of several extended clips of the work in progress and discuss his work on the film.  (From the “Events” section of the local newspaper.)

So I, a Vonnegut fan, a writer myself, and one interested in the arts — and creation of art — in general, made sure to be there last night. In fact, I even prepared myself by making a point to read the preface (by editor and compiler Peter Reed) and Vonnegut’s own introduction to 1999’s BAGOMBO SNUFF BOX, of previously uncollected short fiction, which describe the period in which these works were written, the 1950s and early ’60s where one could earn $3000 for a short story from magazines like COSMOPOLITAN or THE SATURDAY EVENING POST; the rise of TV that replaced these magazines to a large part, bringing a time where one had to write a whole novel to earn the same amount as an advance.  But Vonnegut’s early novels never sold that well until, including a deal of luck, his masterpiece SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE with its anti-war sentiment hit the market at just the right time to become a best seller.  And so I was able to anticipate some of what was to come, as described in the Indiana University Cinema’s blurb:  This special event is a conversation with filmmaker, biographer, and Kurt Vonnegut’s personal friend, Robert Weide, incorporating extended clips from a work-in-progress version of his long-awaited film, KURT VONNEGUT:  UNSTUCK IN TIME.

More than 11 years after his death, Kurt Vonnegut — who was born and raised in Indianapolis — remains one of the most popular literary figures of the 20th and 21st centuries.  Readers from one generation to the next, the world over, continue to find their lives transformed by his comic and cosmic insights, on display in such bestselling books as CAT’S CRADLE, SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE, BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS, MOTHER NIGHT, GOD BLESS YOU MR. ROSEWATER, and on and on.  Amazingly, all of Vonnegut’s works remain in print, and his popularity shows no sign of waning. Yet to-date, there has been no definitive film documentary covering his extraordinary life and work.  For over 30 years, film and TV producer, director, and personal friend, Robert Weide, has been working to correct that oversight.  He will be giving a sneak preview of several extended clips from the work-in-progress, as he discusses his 36-year odyssey to complete the film.

The event is presented as part of Granfalloon**: A Kurt Vonnegut Convergence, an initiative of the Arts & Humanities Council of Indiana University.

And so it goes, for me, as writer, an enlightening and a humbling experience.  Yes, luck played a part in Vonnegut’s success, both good and bad, plus some horrendous life experiences, but I’d not realized the amount of hard work, and number of false starts that went into SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE until he got it “right.”  Or that success did not go well with him in certain ways, though it did in others, including a final bit of luck in his reluctant 2005 publication of A MAN WITHOUT A COUNTRY, a collection of essays that became an instant best seller, two years before his 2007 death.

But one more surprise too, while the blurb spoke of film clips, Robert Weide announced that he couldn’t decide, ultimately, which ones to show, so instead we we got to see the entire two-hour film, in its present not-quite-completed condition, followed in turn by a Q and A session.  A little bit rough, but whenever the final version comes out, I’ll recommend it!
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*Among other things screenwriter and co-producer of the film version of Vonnegut’s MOTHER NIGHT.

**(Wikipedia)  A granfalloon, in the fictional religion of Bokononism (created by Kurt Vonnegut in his 1963 novel CAT’S CRADLE), is defined as a “false karass”. That is, it is a group of people who affect a shared identity or purpose, but whose mutual association is meaningless.  Charles J. Shields’s 2011 AND SO IT GOES:  KURT VONNEGUT:  A LIFE  quotes the novelist, who wrote that a “granfalloon is a proud and meaningless collection of human beings. . .”  That biography also cites Hoosiers as “one of [Vonnegut’s] favorite examples” of what the term refers to.  Other events include displays at the Lilly Rare Book Library, lectures both there and at City Hall, a stage reading of the musical adaptation of GOD BLESS YOU MR. ROSEWATER, and several concerts.

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Hark us back a moment to December 26, below, and the revelation that SOCIETY FOR MISFIT STORIES PRESENTS. . . , VOLUME 1, starring my story “By Force and Against the King’s Peace,” was a nominee for best anthology in the Preditors and Editors 2017 Readers Poll.  Well, yesterday afternoon the news came that those wily pollsters are at it again, with another nominee being the Third Flatiron Publishing anthology CAT’S BREAKFAST:  KURT VONNEGUT TRIBUTE, also with a story by — you guessed it! — moi, “Dead Girls, Dying Girls,” a tale of school science fairs, dancing, and . . . bears (see July 11, et al.).*  Music and education together.  Either nominee may be voted on by pressing here, but I don’t know whether one can vote for both (not that I might not have tried it myself, not that I would suggest. . . .).  But either way, Third Flatiron Editor Juliana Rew points out that votes are due before January 14 and, as she adds, [f]eel free to enter other work if you wish, too.  It offers good exposure to us in the small press field.
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*Should the Third Flatiron name seem familiar, by the way, they are also publishers of the upcoming MONSTROSITIES, among others, which has just accepted my story “Got Them Wash Day Blues” (cf. December 28).

Speaking of cats, the Goth Cat Triana is napping happily next to the keyboard, joyful that I have returned home to her.  More of what I did at NASFiC to come, but for now there are items to be caught up on.  And so this first popped up in today’s email from PHOBOS magazine (cf. February 24, et al.):  Good news!  The print edition of “Deep Black Sea” is now up for sale on Amazon!

Apologies for the delay, but I feel confident in saying this is our strongest issue yet, which of course is a result of the high quality stories by everyone present.  Thank you all for being a part of it.  Our next step will be putting out a Kindle version and making it available at select local bookstores. 

In the meantime, feel free to direct anyone interested to the Amazon site — and have them drop a review about how great your story is!  Reviews go a long way, even if it’s not five stars.

So . . . my story in this is a Lovecraftian romp, “The Dark Call of the Sea,” of a summer vacation at Innsmouth gone wrong.  For more, press here — and as quoted above, if you enjoy the issue, or just my story, please give the Amazon folk a review!

Then for a second item, my copy of CAT’S BREAKFAST: KURT VONNEGUT TRIBUTE (cf. June 15, et al.) arrived from Third Flatiron Publishing while I was gone, in a print edition at a (for Third Flatiron) whopping 270-some pages long.  My story in this is “Dead Girls, Dying Girls,” originally published in SO IT GOES:  A TRIBUTE TO KURT VONNEGUT (Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing, 2013, see April 24 2013, et al.), about girls both alive and dead . . . and bears.  More on it can be found here and, should you enjoy, it can be reviewed too.

No, the Goth cat Triana’s kibble was on time and eaten; rather the headline refers to Third Flatiron Publishing’s Kurt Vonnegut tribute anthology CAT’S BREAKFAST (see May 17, April 27), also served up on Kindle this morning. That’s Kindle, not kibble, for which via Amazon one may press here, with a paperback edition expected from Createspace in the near future.  To quote from the blurb:  While satire and humor have long been standard tools of the trade for fiction writers, the authors have channeled the uniquely Vonnegutian attitude into all-original stories that probe and instruct us on themes such as free will, mental illness, social cruelty, loneliness, and family.  The book [also] contains a flash humor section.  (This from the publisher’s own site, with this next from Amazon)  The new “Cat’s Breakfast” anthology from Third Flatiron pays tribute to the imagination and inspiration of the late author Kurt Vonnegut. Emulating Vonnegut’s famous “gallows humor” and skeptical view, these all-original satirical stories are a delightful antidote for the malaise and division plaguing contemporary society.

What more can one ask for?  My puss in the purée is “Dead Girls, Dying Girls,” originally published in SO IT GOES, Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing’s 2013 tribute anthology (cf. April 24 2013, et al.), a modern morality tale of sorts of a thoroughly up-to-date young lady, a science fair, and . . . bears.

Then in other news, a third review of TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH is now up on the Amazon site.  This is the one from THE GEHENNA POST (cf. June 3), an extremely good description in my opinion, and can be seen in situ by pressing here (where one may note also that Amazon is still offering a substantial discount, but not quite as big as it had once been, so perhaps one might buy now lest the price go up further 😉 ).

So came the announcement from Editor/Publisher Juliana Rew:  It’s hard to believe that summer’s almost here. And so is the new anthology, CAT’S BREAKFAST:  TRIBUTE TO KURT VONNEGUT.  A double issue, it contains 30  all-original  science fiction and fantasy short stories inspired by the wit and wisdom of  the late Mr. Vonnegut, releasing on June 15.

An international group of new and established contributors to “Cat’s Breakfast” makes this a remarkable and varied collection that is sure to please fans of science fiction/fantasy, humor, and horror.  The ebook’s available for pre-order on Amazon, and print books will follow shortly.

And so here it is, the lineup including my “Dead Girls, Dying Girls” (see April 27), a tale of a modern young lady . . . and bears . . .  originally published in Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing’s own tribute anthology, SO IT GOES, in 2013.  While as for that ebook pre-order and other info, one need but press here.

Contents

Spooky Action by David A. Kilman
They Grow Up So Fast by Konstantine Paradias
The Jim-Aaargh School of Philosophy by Rati Mehrotra
Command Decision by James Beamon
Hear by Tim Jeffreys
Honour Killing by Iain Hamilton McKinven
Talk to the Animals by Jill Hand
The Pigeon Drop by Gregg Chamberlain
Formica Joe by Anne E. Johnson
One Is One by Vaughan Stanger
Emerging Grammars by Christopher Mark Rose
Picnic, with Xels by Keyan Bowes
Scenes from a Post-Scarcity, Post-Death Society by Peter Hagelslag
The Static Fall to a Standing Walk by Jason Lairamore
Beyond the Borders of Boredom by Ville Nummenpää
Snakes and Ladders by Rekha Valliappan
Drop Dead Date by August Marion
Monkeyline by Jonathan Shipley
Quality Testing by S. E. Foley
Dead Girls, Dying Girls by James Dorr
The Bringers by John J. Kennedy
The Confrontation Station by Ryan Dull
The Edge of Toska by Veronica Moyer
Violadors on the Run by Corrie Parrish
37 by Dan Koboldt
The Losers’ Crusade by Neil James Hudson

Grins and Gurgles (Flash Humor):

Cyborg Shark Battle (Season 4, O’ahu Frenzy) by Benjamin C. Kinney
Strange Stars by Laurence Raphael Brothers
iPhone 17,000 by E. E. King
The Service Call by Edward Ahern

Then in other info, it’s one of those signs of spring becoming summer, and one of those little things sometimes buried under other activity, but the 2017 RHYSLING ANTHOLOGY(cf. April 19, 2, March 29, et al.) made a safe landing here in last Saturday’s mail.  This is the collection of award nominees in the Science Fiction and Poetry Association’s annual Rhysling Competition, in which my prize fight poem “Godzilla vs. King Kong” appears in the Short Poem division (cf. March 29, February 22).

More information on the Rhysling Awards and the SFPA may be found here.

A quick follow up to April 27th’s post just below (paragraph two).  Later that p.m. what should e-appear in ye olde electronic mailbox but the promised contract from Third Flatiron Publishing for “Dead Girls, Dying Girls” to appear in CAT’S BREAKFAST, this being the title for their Kurt Vonnegut inspired summer anthology.  As opposed, that is, to the Goth cat Triana’s morning kibble.  So this afternoon I emailed back my agreement plus some extra requested information on form of payment, current address, etc.  And again, more to be told here as it becomes known.

(Meanwhile as I write this the Goth cat Triana, who is experiencing the first spring ever in her young life, has captured either a small spider or a member of the cricket colony that inhabits my basement briefly in fall and spring, on an all too tragic visit upstairs.  After some play, she has apparently eaten it, so I can’t say for sure which it is [I suspect the spider].  She does appear to have enjoyed it, though.)

The writing life, the writing life.  Last night the proof copy came for “Golden Age,” the closing story for Smart Rhino’s upcoming anthology ZIPPERED FLESH 3:  YET MORE TALES OF BODY ENHANCEMENTS GONE BAD (see April 19, et al.).  The changes suggested were unobtrusive, so back it has been sent today with my okay, plus one small correction.  “Golden Age” itself is a reprint, originally appearing in the science fiction magazine MINDSPARKS for  Spring 1994, and probably will be a bit more “gentle” than much of the content of the finished anthology.  Maybe a lot more gentle, in fact, but also in Editor Weldon Burge’s opinion with a sense of finality that may make it perfect to be the closer.

In other news, we may remember Third Flatiron Publishing which we last met in conjunction with my short short “Chocolat” in their IT HAS COME TO OUR ATTENTION anthology (cf. March 23, February 21).  They do these themed anthologies quarterly and, concerning their latest, the word came earlier this week from Editor/Publisher Juliana Rew:  We’d be pleased to accept the story, “Dead Girls, Dying Girls,” for inclusion in Third Flatiron Publishing’s Summer 2017 anthology, with the theme, “Cat’s Breakfast.”  This is to be a Kurt Vonnegut inspired collection, inspired itself somewhat by Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing’s 2013 SO IT GOES:  A TRIBUTE TO KURT VONNEGUT.  And so a couple of us writers who both had stories in that one (aha!  so see January 3 2013, below) and have been at least occasionally part of Third Flatiron’s stable were invited to send our work in for possible reprint consideration.  The email added that it would receive a reprint rate, which had been understood, and that a contract should be along soon.  Thus “Dead Girls, Dying Girls,” the tale of an up-and-coming modern American young lady — and dancing bears — has earned a new home, more of which to be revealed here as it becomes known.

So it goes.

No, it’s not my headline this time but rather the title of an animated lecture/interview by Kurt Vonnegut on BLANKONBLANK.ORG/ PBS DIGITAL STUDIOS, delivered to a class at New York University on November 8 1970.  And please forgive the annoying Dropbox commercial toward the end.  But, speaking of SCIFI’s CatsCradle(1963)venture itself into academe (see post just below), I’d say that while this one was rather more exciting — the rocketship, for instance, vs. “Killer Kudzu”? —  I’d like to hope ultimately that  we’re all talking about the same thing.

And the man-eating lampreys as well?  To find out press here.

Kudos for indirectly leading me to BLANKONBLANK, etc., go to Mike Olson and ON THE EDGE CINEMA.  And if that weren’t enough, there are more of these animated interviews — times run to five or six minutes or so each — such as one with “Ray Bradbury on Madmen” (this time via Youtube and without commercial, at least not interrupting it toward the end like with Vonnegut’s session) which can be found here.

kurt_vonnegut-1

An iconoclastic author and a great man.  For fifteen other things worth remembering from Kurt Vonnegut’s legacy, please press here.

(Illustration attrib. PARALLAXED JOURNAL)

Two items, both to do with SO IT GOES, of which you have read here often (e.g., March 31, et al.).  The book itself has arrived in Monday afternoon’s mail.  This is the tribute anthology from Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing for Kurt Vonnegut, and I believe the first anthology published by the emerging press.  Just from a glance it looks like a winner — and certainly, in concept soitgoes-copy-202x300alone, it makes for a bold start.  And I might mention too, another first for PMMP will be their initial single-author collection next month, THE TEARS OF ISIS (cf. March 21, February 27, et al.) by (ahem) me, scheduled for release on May 15.

Then for more on SO IT GOES, Editor/Publisher Max Booth III has escalated on his April 3 offer, posted below, to potential reviewers.  But let him explain for himself:

Christian A. Larsen is one of the authors involved in our recent anthology, SO IT GOES:  A TRIBUTE TO KURT VONNEGUT.  Today he’s come up with a brilliant idea that everyone can participate in, and even get a chance to win free money!

Here is what Mr. Larsen posted on his blog:

“I and everyone involved would love to hear what you think.  Consider this a formal appeal for your review.  If you’re looking for an idea of how to write one, the following is adapted from an Isis4_2assignment given by Kurt Vonnegut to his students in his “Form of Fiction” course at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop:

“Any review would be awesome, whether you want to follow those instructions or not.  But if you do follow Vonnegut’s framework, I’m a big boy. If my story falls in the bottom three category, I can take it. I’ll take it with tears, but I’ll take it.”

Sounds fun, right? Well here’s where we up the stakes: anyone who participates in this challenge will be entered in a raffle for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card. The lucky winner will be chosen at random on July 1st.  So do make sure, that if you do involve yourself in this project, that you email us at pmmpublishing@gmail.com so your name doesn’t slip through the cracks!

More information — as well as the actual adaptation of Vonnegut’s own advice to reviewers — can be found by pressing here.




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