Why Dickens Still Rules

From A Tale of Two Cities:

“His message perplexed his mind to that degree that he was fain, several times, to take off his hat to scratch his head. Except on the crown, which was raggedly bald, he had stiff, black hair, standing jaggedly all over it, and growing down hill almost to his broad, blunt nose. It was so like Smith’s work, so much more like the top of a strongly spiked wall than a head of hair, that the best of players at leap-frog might have declined him, as the most dangerous man in the world to go over.”


Plus, the nightmarish pursuit of young Cruncher by coffin.

The Perfect Wave

In the January 2008 issue of Isaac Asimov’s SF Magazine, a story from Rudy Rucker and myself, “The Perfect Wave.” I talked Jeremy Bennett, my esteemed co-worker and a favorite artist, into doing a cover illustration especially for the story. Jeremy is not only a surfer, he did a great deal art for Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and King Kong. We’ve spent a lot of time together poring over classic pulp covers, including at the Science Fiction Museum. Rudy and I were stoked by Jeremy’s interpretation of our story. Since it got majorly cropped for the magazine cover, I’ve provided a link to a full shot of the image with none of the lettering or bar codes, so people can enjoy it in full.


How’d Palahniuk Do That?

Tonight I was driving home from work listening to Chuck Palahniuk’s Rant on my tape deck. A few miles from home I got behind a black Corolla with STUDENT DRIVER painted on the fender in huge white luminous block letters. I’m driving along for mile after mile, just below the speed limit, keeping my distance, while the voices in the story speak. My mind wanders.

In the story, a carload of characters are driving along in the dark, talking.  One says something something like, “I think we’re missing Soccer Moms tonight. ”  Another answers, “Nah, tonight is STUDENT DRIVERS.”

Philip K. Dick was a master of this sort of reality-creep.  Chuck P. has it too.