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Apparently the first issue of the new Amazing Stories is just hitting the stands in the US right now, and it features new fiction by Timothy Zahn, Bruce Sterling, Ray Vukcevich, and Gene Wolfe, which is pretty impressive.

Following a note on Neil’s journal, I note that each issue will feature ‘”1,000 Words,” in which we provide an author with a picture, and the author tells us which thousand words it’s worth.’ The instalment features an 800-word Gaiman introduction to a 200-word Harlan Ellison story. Or, a 200-word Ellison afterword to a 800-word Gaiman piece of non-fiction. Guess it all depends on your perspective.

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Sometimes your kids make you proud…
Bought a copy of Disney’s The Lion King for the kids a little while ago. Hate it myself, but thought they might like the songs. Played it for them last night and they didn’t want to watch it (too scary). They woke up this morning, though, and asked to watch Totoro while eating breakfast. Their staggering good taste just makes me proud.

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Justine, who I can personally assure you is very cool, has just posted to her mumblings about receiving the galleys for her first novel, Magic or Madness, which is due for publication early next year. The cover looks terrific and I’m really interested to read the book. Her partner, Scott, has written some very fine books (which you should check out), and I’m fascinated to see what she’s come up with. Something to look forward to. Hmmm. Wonder if Scott’s finished that third novel yet…

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Well, I think I’m beginning to drive the family mad! I picked up my tickets and stuff for the trip to Oakland and WorldCon next month, then the program schedule arrived (I’m on six items at the moment, though that might change), and suddenly it’s all I can think about. I find myself looking up websites recommending what to pack and what not to pack, checking international travel advisories, planning what I need to do between now and then (a lot!), and so on and so forth. It’s getting kinda exciting. I’m particularly pleased to see that Paul, Cheryl, Jeff, Ellen, Gavin & Kelly, and others are going to be there. It should be a great time, if busy. I need to schedule some stuff with Sharyn, Andy, Byron, Karen and everyone else, while I’m there, and maybe see some of Boston too. And then there’s the parties (Friday’s usually pretty busy), the Locus AGM, and I think I’ll be sitting in on some interviews too.

Actually, Locus is the biggest reason for doing this. Seeing Charles would be worth the trip itself, so I’m pretty happy that I’m going to get to go to Oakland, crash at Charles’s place, drink scotch, sleep late (for me anyway), take it easy, talk and catch up, see Kirsten, Mandy, Tim, Liza and Carolyn, and generally have fun. I never get to do everything I would like to when I’m in Oakland, but this time I’m determined to: see Karen; see Jenni; have dinner with Kirsten at her place so I can see Aaron and Teddy; do some shopping in Berkely so I can get baby tie-dye and stuff; get to Dark Carnival and see Jack; maybe buy some clothes; find a present for Marianne; maybe see Tim away from the office and get a chance to chat; and sleep.

And, of course, for all that it will be a great time, if last year is anything to go by, by the end of it I’ll by dying to get home. Two and a half weeks is about the outer limit of what I can take, when it comes to not being ’round the family. Pathetic, huh?