Scarlet Letters

The not-so-private thoughts and rants of Elizabeth Donald, journalist/author and founder of the Literary Underworld.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

release date!

This is what I get for not checking my email for a week. While the beach was lovely, the work sure piled up while I was gone.

In between final draft reviews and galley inspections, I got the release date for TANDEM: June 16.

So we'll be setting a date shortly for the release chat party. Can't do it the night of, because I have theater tickets. So there.

Back to the galleys...

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Border Patrol

I'm physically ill, and it's not the fries.

I am sitting in McDonald's, because we have no food in the house. We've been trying to eat up all our perishable groceries while we get ready for a vacation. And because it's Thursday, therefore Restaurant Day, and nothing dissuades my son from our weekly excursion to Ronald's place.

Our Town's McDonald's has a TV. There are times when I fervently wish it didn't. This time, however, it isn't Fox News that's causing my gallbladder to try to climb up my esophagus.

CNN just carried a story with gruesome images I fervently wish they hadn't shown me, and it's not another bombing in Iraq.

From the soulless cretins who brought you Ethnic Cleansing the Videogame, we now have Border Patrol the Videogame.

Trigger-happy little bastards get to take aim at Mexicans crossing the border and watch them splatter in "amusing" bursts of blood and horrified faces of terror.

Extra points for shooting a "breeder" - a pregnant woman with a child in tow.

Yes, you can shoot the kids too.

Isn't that funny? Isn't it amusing? Isn't that just the neatest thing? After all, Ethnic Cleansing let you kill nonwhite people in the streets of New York City, but this is so much more realistic! And it's free on the internet!

CNN must have run the same clip over and over, showing the little cartoon Mexicans exploding in bloodsmears. It's enough to put you off your Big Mac.

You know, there are times when outrage falls into something sad and forlorn, twisting in your gut, and you despair of the future of the human race. There's a creepy moment in the last season of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, when the captured Cylon tells Captain Adama, "You once said that humanity never asked itself why it deserved to survive. Maybe you don't."

Most of the time, it's easy to disagree with a Cylon.

Other times, I remember why postapocalyptic fiction is my favorite. Take the entire Gordian Knot we've created in five thousand years of bloodshed and bullshit and hack through the motherfucker with a sword. Stephen King said that's why he wrote THE STAND - "I got to scrub the whole human race, and it was fun." And the first thing he wrote in his notes about What It Would Be Like: "no more gas shortages."

The more things change, and all that.

As I write this, a Hispanic man and his two small sons have entered McDonald's. One is a baby just old enough to sit on his father's lap, and the other can be no older than three. They happily sit at their table, the three-year-old in his Spiderman T-shirt sipping his soda while his baby brother tries to steal fries he's too small to eat.

I find myself hoping with all my heart that the Border Patrol segment will not rerun while they're here. If it does, I contemplate crossing to the damn television and shutting it right the hell off. Or begging the teenagers behind the counter to change the channel.

The restaurant is overairconditioned, and suddenly I sneeze three times, rather loudly. The father looks over at me and kindly says, "Bless you."

"Thank you," I reply, and his baby smiles at me, one tiny tooth showing. I'm thanking him for more than his small courtesy. I'm thanking him for temporarily restoring my faith that we don't all deserve to be wiped out by an intergalactic plague or swarm of hostile aliens, or simply by our own stupidity. The latter being the most likely, of course.

It's not enough. But it's a start.

testing testing 123

This is only a test. If this had been a real post, it would have contained actual content.

Move along, nothing to see here...

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Sequential Tart has reviewed SETTING SUNS... and loves it.

A few choice excerpts:

"A number of the stories are set in Donald's Sanctuary setting, which makes me curious to read more from it — and normally I don't even like Evil Alien Takeover-type stories. These stories are almost cruel to the reader, giving you a taste that leaves you pining. Donald, if you're reading this, I particularly would like to see more of the characters in "Memoir" (though that desire goes directly against the wisdom offered in your author notes in that story; I don't want to let Tony go!)That story, about one woman's dealings with the aliens, and the technology that helps her through it in a most unexpected way, is definitely among my favorites from the collection."

"It usually takes a lot to sell me a short story, especially when it comes to sci-fi or horror, and extra-especially when stories are tragic (as those genres tend to be). But Donald has two things in her favour: she's clever (I enjoy a good twist) and her short stories are not strictly bizarre, symbolic, stream-of-consciousness pieces with no point to them. Not to say that none of the stories have any bizarre, symbolic, or stream-of-consciousness elements, or that it's bad that some do (it's definitely not), but I consider it a plus when I get to the end of a short story and have actually understood what has happened in it."


And yes, this reinforces the ongoing plea from my readers that I need to get the SANCTUARY series out there but yesterday. If they like the stories, they'll love the book.