The Kurt Cobain Effect: Refusing All Apologies For Conflicted Emotion

When I was a freshman in college in the mid 90s, someone directed me to a wagering website that hosted what it called a death pool: people made a list of ten famous people and whoever had the most on that list die in the coming year won the prize. (The concept may be familiar from a similarly named film.) A ticker ran across the screen, updating you on the viability of various celebrities. Who was old, who was sick, who was doing their own stunts—and at the end came the reminder: Kurt Cobain, still dead.

Contagious

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Damn Dirty Space Bugs: How I Let They Might Be Giants Write My Novels

This is how The Killbug Eulogies came about.

In my mid twenties, my chief creative pursuit was song writing. I didn’t play the guitar well, and I couldn’t sing, but lyric appealed to me because I considered it a blend of what life has taught you, what you’ve read about, and what rhymes. I used to walk around lower Manhattan with a pocket notebook and a pen in hand, sometimes till two in the morning, writing down couplets as the wanderlust inspired me.

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Bringing Yourself To Tears: What’s Talent Got To Do With It?

Every now and again I meet a novelist who brags their work is so powerful, it even makes themselves cry. How’s that for the weirdest chest-thumping you’ve ever heard? Also, it’s ridiculous. A novel is a personal thing: by necessity an author draws it from experience. Who will ever relate more to your own experience than you?

Character

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From Toasters to Eggbeaters: Why Kitchen Appliances Make the Best Sci Fi Baddies

My relationship with science fiction began in the early 80s with tv shows like Buck Rogers [title truncated for brevity] and Battlestar Galactica. A hawk man with feathers for hair, a cylon standing in a darkened room somehow reflecting a terrifying amount of light. I remember thinking even as a child that the cylon on screen was not an indestructible killer robot but a person in a suit trying not hurt themselves. The appeal for me was the dress up, making one thing standing for another. The on-screen image externalized fears buried somewhere in my childlike psyche: fear of authority, fear of the dark, fear of any intelligence incapable of feeling pity for my tiny helpless self.

Silver Strigil in the 25th Century

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The Samurai School of Author Blogs: A Beginning

Once I saw a movie that opens on a layabout in medieval Japan who needs work. A war is on, so he decides to become a samurai. He picks up a sword somewhere and follows after whichever army marches past first. I’ve no idea which film this is. My best guess is Hidden Fortress, in which case it’s not one guy but two.

The Samurai School of Author Blogs: A Beginning

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