You know what would be awesome? Sleep. Unfortunately, my French bulldog Lulu sees to it that I’m awake by 6:30 a.m. every morning – barking, whining, chewing on my ear and, if I attempt to ignore her, grabbing a corner of my pillow and tugging it out from beneath my head if. So even though it’s a late call, sleeping in is only a theoretical possibility for me.
But I’m not complaining. It only sounds like I’m complaining. In reality, I’m having a terrific (dare I say corking) time on set. Will is an affable host who, between fielding my last minute dialogue adjustments and assisting me in locating my oft-misplaced chair, has also found time to direct the episode. It’s all coming along very nicely (and spookily) and I’m sure fans will be both delighted with and terrified by the final product.
I’m able to get this entry in early today thanks to a late start which has us breaking for lunch at 4:30 p.m. today. For our 8:30 p.m. dinner tonight, I’ve ordered pizza and wings for the cast and crew as a thank you for all of their hard work (shooting Whispers hasn’t been easy and they‘ve been doing an incredible job). All-dressed, spicy chicken, pepperoni and cheese, veggie, and even a couple of ham and pineapples for the fringe crowd.
The gang over at SF Signal were kind enough to ask me to participate in their recent Mind Meld feature, an ongoing interview/feature in which a bunch of people are asked to a respond to a single question. They asked:
Q: Which author, living or otherwise, do you believe deserves more recognition than they currently receive and why?
My response: Um, all of them? Seriously. While many talented science fiction writers are recognized by their peers in the SF literary community, they remain largely overlooked and under appreciated by non-literary SF fandom. Why? Well, clearly, sitting down to watch that sequel to Space Mimes Forever requires a lot less time than, say, checking out the latest Nebula winner. Add to that the fact that, in our increasingly hectic multi-tasking society, reading for pleasure seems to be going the way of the bowler hat and those Wassup guys. Nevertheless, I firmly believe that all is not lost. Word of mouth is still a terrific way to introduce the uninitiated to the likes of Ted Chiang, Octavia E. Butler, Karen Traviss, and Cory Doctorow (to name but a few). We readers just have to make more of an effort. Next time your buddy’s birthday rolls around, forego the gift certificates to Taco Misterioso and get him/her Essential Ellison instead. Lend out your favorite titles to friends, fellow producers, and the guy who plays Dr. Rodney McKay on your t.v. show. Hell, I’m already on my fifth copy of Old Man’s War! Also, don’t be so quick to dismiss Hollywood’s attempts to mine the rich resources of science fiction literature. Sure, the successes are few and far between, but even in the outright disasters there’s a silver lining, a saving grace in the form of that original source material that can be referenced and recommended. “Sweet Jesus! Ape Lincoln? WTF?!!” “Hey, relax. Go check out a book called Monkey Planet by Pierre Boulle. It’ll get that taste of gorilla funk out of your mouth.
All that said, if I had to choose one grossly under appreciated author to champion, I would go with David R. Bunch. Bunch was a civilian cartographer for the Defense Mapping Agency in St. Louis who, over the course of his life, wrote an impressive amount of poetry and short stories. His work has been described as surrealist short fiction; his poetic, lyrical prose alternately criticized for being allusive and dense, yet praised for its richness and complexity. In some ways, Bunch reminds me of Gene Wolfe in his unique style and ability to command a reader’s undivided attention.
David R. Bunch is best known for Moderan, a collection of over 40 of his short stories, all taking place in a future in which humans have been replaced by militaristic cyborgs. And yet, at the core of this deeply pessimistic machine world, humanity persists. Speaking of Moderan, Brian W. Aldiss wrote: “The effect is as if Whitman and Nietzsche had collaborated to rewrite a typical Heinlein-Anderson-Niven-Pournelle future history story. As such it is a unique book in the science fiction field.”
Sadly, Moderan and his other collection, Bunch!, are out of print; his various uncollected short stories now languish in the rare back issues of Amazing and Fantastic. But two of his stories were featured in Harlan Ellison’s Dangerous Visions collection. One of these, “The Escaping”, offers up a wonderful sampling of his unique narrative rhythm and unforgettable imagery.
To check out the full Mind Meld Q&A including under appreciated picks from author Julie Czerneda and editor Ann VanderMeer, head on over to: