A few assorted items:
- Steve Jobs interview in Rolling Stone, talking about the iTunes Music Store, music in general, Apple, and the future. Most people probably won't agree with various of his comments (I disagree with several of them myself), but I thought it was an interesting interview.
- Extremely cute baby Halloween costume. Apparently the whole thing was portable—the father carried it around.
- Astronomy Picture of the Day from yesterday featured something rather like a photographic negative of the moon, which makes it easier to pick out faint details.
- Trivia question: what distinction did Pembroke Pines, Florida hold in 2001 in insurance circles?
- Margaret Atwood reveals that she did have a somewhat clearer understanding of the broadness of the term "science fiction" in a 2002 review of Le Guin's The Birthday of the World. (Thankfully, she uses the term "quinkdom"—a cross between a kingdom and a queendom—only once in the article.) "It's too bad that [the term 'science fiction'] has acquired a dubious if not downright sluttish reputation.... In brilliant hands ..., the form can be brilliant.... [It] can also provide a kit for examining ... the human condition.... Within the frequently messy sandbox of sci-fi fantasy, some of the most accomplished and suggestive intellectual play of the last century has taken place." It's a smart and literate review; it suggests to me that she's only a little out of touch with the field. I wish she'd used some of her comments from this review when promoting Oryx and Crake. I especially like this line: "All imagined worlds must make some provision for sex, with or without black leather and tentacles...."
- Speaking of smart and perceptive discussions, there's a really interesting one going on over in the Night Shade Books forums about interstitiality and cross-genre work. Neal Stanifer, Nick Mamatas, Des Lewis, Barth Anderson (I assume), David Moles, Trent Walters (I assume), others. It's long and detailed, and I still haven't read all of it, but I thought Neal's initial post was particularly interesting for its lucid and concise discussion of what genre is. I especially like the reference to "genre as (mostly) a set of categories useful in placing a work among its fellow works. Not solely formalist distinctions, but sets of conventions which permit us to distinguish between different works and recognize what's going on in a text." In my editorial on genre a couple years ago, I talked about specific things that can mark a work as belonging to a given genre, but it hadn't occurred to me to generalize those things into the term "conventions"; I like that a lot.
Okay, off to go bed shopping.