The Early Days of a Better Nation

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

What else I've been doing

The Human Genre Project is coming along well. It's just featured in the Madrid online daily Contributions have come in from: SF writers Bruce Sterling, Ted Kosmatka and Ian Watson, young American poets Kelley Swain, Tracey Rosenberg, and Aiko Harman, Brazilian polymath Fabio Fernandez, front-line health workers Heather Fineman and Marilyn Kosmatka, and many more.

A couple of weeks ago I went along to The Golden Hour, the monthly poetry evening at The Forest Cafe, where I heard an electrifying performance from Kei Miller and passed out Human Genre Project bookmarks so strategically that Allan Gillis said it was like getting an invitation to join a cult. I have no shame. On the way over I'd handed one bookmark to a young woman with glasses and a book-bag, and walked off quickly to let her get on with lighting her cigarette. I can spot those intellectuals a mile away.

She turned out to be Peggy Hughes, of the Scottish Poetry Library and West Port Book Festival - I met her again at (well, outside) the Wash Bar on the Mound, venue of the July City of Literature Trust salon, along with her boyfriend Colin Fraser (who is currently hosting a Twitter conversation between the Edinburgh monuments of Burns, Darwin, Hume and others). This particular salon was focused on SF and fantasy, with Scottish fantasy writer Ricardo Pinto as mystery guest, and a very creditable turn-out by the Edinburgh SF mob. I handed out bookmarks to everyone I knew and many I didn't. Stuart Kelly, Literary Editor of Scotland on Sunday, spoke briefly about how SF and fantasy were integral to Scottish and particularly Edinburgh literature.

This month sees the Scottish fantastic variously represented at ongoing fringe events:

Alba ad Astra, an exhibition and book of Scotland's forgotten space programme.
The West Port Book Festival.
The Edinburgh Book Fringe.
Underword - 'Three weeks of subterranean spoken word'.

I'll be the one handing out the black, white and red bookmarks.

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Also worth mentioning is that Jane McKie of Writers' Bloc is the SPL's poet of the month for August. It really is a small world sometimes.

OT: Mr. MacLeod, I had a fit of curiosity earlier and I figured you were the man to ask; given how great the reviews of your work have been, do you know why your publishers didn't shoot for the North American market with The Night Sessions?

Steven, I don't know.

You're just making me jealous because I don't live in Edinburgh any more.

The festival is just starting too, not that I ever went to anything when I did live there...

Hey, congrats, Ken! (and thanks for the "Polymath" - don´t know if I deserve it, but, boy, it does feel good to think meself as one! :-)

Oh, and I´m reading The Night Sessions - going to do a review on PWT after the WorldCon!

Alright, well... No matter. I broke down and paid the shipping fee at Amazon UK. LOL!

Steven Alleyn -
I had to do the same, but it was well worth it. Once I'd read it I kicked myself for even hesitating. Enjoy the read!

Hey! Thanks for the shout out! I was at the Golden Hour as well, sitting with Alan in fact! Too bad I didn't get to meet you. What did you think of all the sci-fi poetry??

I was just thinking of you and this project last weekend. I went down to London for the London Poetry Festival, my second time ever going to London -- and I stopped off at the Science Museum, where they had a terrific exhibit called.... let me find it... 'Who Am I?'

It was rammed so I didn't spend too much time looking at all the bits & bobs, but the whole level is decorated with huge plexiglass walls covered in human dna chromosome images. basically the image you have at your website, repeated over and over again. I took a picture (which really doesn't do it justice), but if you ever head down, there must be some way to utilize this for the project!

Sorry, here -- I'll link to the two pictures I took:
picture 1

picture 2

Hi aiko! It's funny, I was sitting a couple of seats away from Alan, so we nearly met. We must do better next time.

Cool pics, by the way.

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