I'm still recovering from holiday, which process may well be slowed down by the sore throat indicating the start of a head cold. I hope to avoid it - I'm chugging orange juice as fast as I can - but we'll see. In the meantime, I've uploaded some of the choice photos, with commentary, from our vacation to flickr - lots of good ones of people from the Masterclass, as well as some touristy ones. Once again, I'd like to thank everyone that we met. It was a fantastic trip, and we were really happy to meet so many friends, old and new.
Coming home has been a bit of a shock. After two weeks of mostly British accents, which I tend to interpret as 'educated' and 'refined,' people with strong Texas accents set my teeth on edge (especially when they're talking and giggling loudly about bodily functions, as the people sharing the shuttle to the airport parking lot were - I just wanted to smack them). They sound uncouth in comparison. We had a similar experience on the bus tours after the Masterclass - hearing Americans after spending time in a majority British crowd was jarring. However, we took some comfort in the fact that the couple acting most like stereotypical 'ugly Americans' were in fact Australians living in Ireland.
However, as you can see in the photo below, we are well and truly back home now.
On the left is Dodger, our Pit Bull-Dalmatian mix (70 lbs), and right is Hazel, possibly Pharoh Hound and Terrier (50 lbs). I promise not to go overboard on cute dog pictures, but I know I mentioned these guys to several people in England, so I figured I'd show you what they actually look like.
So what's next?
Well, you can see that the name change has gone into effect. I'm going to be going for quality over quantity for the next month or so. Posts may slow down a bit, but I've got lots of ideas. Coming soon you'll see reviews of Last Colony, Halting State, and Brasyl. Tomorrow I'm planning on putting in my Hugo vote (deadline July 7th!) and I'll be posting about my choices. I need to post something about the current gender flap as well. I'll also be posting about reconsidering my short fiction reviewing philosophy in light of conversations I've had with Gary Wolfe and Niall Harrison.
I'm currently reading Heart of Darkness (finally) which shouldn't take long; it's really grabbed me. I'll be reviewing The Carhullan Army, this year's Tiptree Award winner for SFSignal, and I owe a review of Strahan's Year's Best SF & F and Hartwell & Cramer's YB Fantasy and YB Science Fiction to Niall at Strange Horizons by the end of the month.
Also, I'm embarking on a research project on Stanley G. Weinbaum, to examine his oeuvre and his place in the genre. I thought he'd be a good place to start: his writing is interesting and funny, and he died at age 33, meaning it's possible to read everything he ever wrote in a reasonable amount of time. It's basically to see if I enjoy doing this sort of thing, and to help fill up an otherwise less-than-100%-productive summer.
So there'll be lots happening here, and during all of this I'll also be experimenting with trying to improve my writing style as well. Nothing like ambitious goals! Wish me luck, and stay tuned.