Blogging Pound’s The Cantos: Canto LXVIII

This entry is part 54 of 55 in the series Blogging Pound's The Cantos

Pound CantosThis post is one in a series of readings I’m posting of each poem in Ezra Pound’s The Cantos, one (or a few) at a time. The readings are atypical, for reasons made clear in my first post in this series. I’m not sure whether the fiction project that inspired this series will ever come to fruition, but I’d like to try finish the Cantos just the same.

There’s also an (updated) index of all the Cantos (and related sources) I’ve discussed so far.

This is my first post on the Cantos in eight months. I do hope to finish the Adams Cantos in the next few weeks, since there’s only two left. Then I’ll be into the Pisan Cantos—hooray! That said, I’ll probably slow down so I give each on the attention it deserves.

(Not to dismiss the Adams Cantos, but… well, I think there’s a reason there’s so much less interest in them (and the Chinese Cantos) than in what comes before them and after them.) 

In any case, here we go! Continue reading

Readymade Bodhisattva, “The Flowering,” Los Angeles/Riverside, and More

This entry is part 68 of 69 in the series SF in South Korea

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything to the SF in South Korea series on this blog, but that doesn’t mean that nothing’s happened in the field. It’s just that: 

  • My interests have broadened out from SF to other forms of speculative or “genre” narrative (and, in a big way, to include tabletop RPGs in general), and a lot has happened in many other narrative genres and different media within Korea.  
  • I’ve been a little less involved in the informal Korean SF world since 2013. We were abroad for a while, and then we had a kid and moved to the countryside and ave been busy ever since, and it’s all I can do to get some writing done. 
  • I’ve been, at the same time, more involved in other ways, like in working on translations and doing some support work on a major anthology.

All of of these things have made it harder to post: the first, because a widened scope makes it harder to keep up (especially while trying to continue to do creative work while parenting a toddler); the second, because, I’m less in-the-loop and have no time even when I do have interesting news; and the final point, because I don’t like to sound like I’m tooting my own horn too much. 

That said, I guess it’s time for a little tootin’…

Working backwards chronologically:

Today I got word that an a podcast episode of interest to non-Koreans who want to know more about Korean SF just got published. Soyeon Jeong, Sang Joon Park, Sunyoung Park, and I—as participants of the recent Voices & Visions event in Los Angeles—were interviewed by Dr. Henry Jenkins and Colin MacKay, the hosts of USC’s podcast How Do You Like it So Far? You can listen to Episode 36: Korean Science Fiction: Imagining other worlds, by clicking through or listening below:

Rewinding a little: at the beginning of April, Clarkesworld published its issue 151, which includes my co-translation with Jihyun Park of Soyeon Jeong’s short story “The Flowering”—the first of a series of Korean speculative fiction translations in the magazine. (We’re working on our second contribution to the series at the moment.) If you look over in the sidebar, you can see links for where to subscribe or pledge for Clarkesworld‘s Patreon. 

If you enjoy Jeong’s story, you may also enjoy Jeong’s story titled  “Home,” translated by Sophie Bowman and recently published by Guernica. (Intended or not, it forms a pretty interesting, smart counterpoint with the contrivances in Tom Godwin’s “The Cold Equations.”)

Jeong’s work isn’t the first work of Korean SF Bowman’s translated: she’s actually translated of Boyoung Kim’s wonderful short novel of love and marriage preparations, and a couple plagued by the effects of FTL travel (namely, time-dilation), I’m Waiting for You. (I haven’t heard, but I assume the translation is forthcoming with a publisher by now.) You can hear Bowman read from the translation on Soundcloud:

Moving back to late February, Readymade Bodhisattva: The Kaya Press Anthology of South Korean Science Fiction was published by Kaya Press. It contains two short stories that Jihyun Park and I co-translated: Seong Hwan Park’s “Readymade Bodhisattva” and Chang-Gyu Kim’s “Our Banished World.” (We also translated the afterword and I helped copyedit the other translations.) There’s links in my sidebar, under the cover image of the book, for where you can buy a copy in the US and in Korea alike. 

Kaya Press is an L.A. publisher who’s also working on at least one other Korean SF project: a collection of short stories by Boyoung Kim, which will include a reprint of our translation of “An Evolutionary Myth,” which originally appeared in Clarkesworld.

The release of the book occasioned a trip to Los Angeles for an event that is part of USC’s Voices and Visions series, titled Readymade Bodhisattvas: South Korean Sci-Fi and Transnational Technocultures as well as a brief stop in Riverside, California (as well as a side trip to Las Vegas for me) which I’ll say about a little more later on in this post.

Oh, and it was in early February—just a week before I left for Los Angeles, in fact—that Neil Clarke announced the SF translation project! Here’s a link to that announcement. 

Right, that’s the highlights. For those interested in the trip I made to L.A., connected to the launch of Readymade Bodhisattva, and on recent developments in Korean SF and my thoughts on this (not recently updated) blog series, click through and see the rest of this post…

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Reading The Warren by Marshall Miller (and a new World Playset: Deck 17-R01)

This post is a brief overview of an RPG I managed to read through, but not yet try out, called The Warren. It’s a story game about… you guessed it, intelligent rabbits, sort of a RPG adaptation of Watership Down and stories like it. (Did the cover art above give it away?)

This post includes short explanation of my (honestly sketchy) familiarity with the family of games it belongs to, an overview of what I found interesting in the game’s design, and a free (but not yet playtested) “World” playbook I designed for the setting, and a pretty wacky one at that. The fact I sat down and did one up should tell you at least a little about my response to the game, but if you’re interested in the fine details, read on.

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A**hole Island “Final” Edit/Rewrite Under Way

Well, I’m finally back at work on A**hole Island. It’s one of two novels I drafted between the fall of 2016 and the summer of 2018, at which point I toppled over from exhaustion. Working a day job, doing editing on the side, parenting, trying to sell the odd short story, plus writing at that pace is not sustainable all at once, especially since A**hole Island is the shorter of the two novels. (But also the one that feels most complete.)

I started working again on it today, taking some advice from a friend (thanks, Jeremy!) and hacking away at the beginning and end alike. It was 100,000 words, but after my work today, it’s down to about 80,000 words, with a revised opening full of enigmas and mysteries. 

I expect it’ll probably creep its way back to around 95,000–100,000 words in the end, since the ending needs some expanding, with things originally only handwaved and hinted at being made explicit. That said, I I am actually aiming for about 90,000 words, because I’ll be trimming as I go. 

A**hole Island is actually an expansion of a novella I wrote back in 2014, which I decided would work well as a novel. To my shock, I think it might actually be YA, or at least something that could be marketed as such. I never set out to write in that genre, but I am not horrified by it, either, at this point. That said, I originally conceived it as an straight SF novel that happened to feature teen characters, and it might sell as such, too. Either way, I’ll be happy. 

The net result of today’s work is about 5,000 words, which is less than I used to achieved in a normal writing day, but then normal writing days didn’t start with washing a child who’d peed himself and then fighting to get him to let me put skin lotion on him because he hates the stuff, so… I’m calling it a win. I need four more days like that to finish revising the opening, and to hammer the ending home. In the meantime, if I can revise a few sections on each of my slow work days—the two days a week that I’m not at school all day—I should be able to get this thing done within a couple of months, and start the process of trying to find an agent and sell it. 

(While, of course, returning to work on the other, longer project, Zyme!, which needs one major storyline rejiggered, and which I need to decide whether I’m going to try cut up into pieces, or to write all the way through and sell as a big fat novel on its own. I waver in which idea seems better, though given the flavor and style—it’s got way more early Georgian English in it than your average SF book—the big fat book approach might be the wiser, I dunno.)

Anyway, it feels like forward motion again on these projects, which is positive. Not that I didn’t get anything done during my break from them—editing, translation, and the everpresent attempt to be a decent parent and spouse, as well as some recharging of batteries—but I’m happy to have these juggernauts back in motion, however creaking it might be. 

Oh, and for those who recognize the header image: yes, A**hole Island is (in part) a reference to that island, but not in the context most people might imagine. Please don’t jump to any conclusions, okay? 

Recent Books (Recenter Books Edition)

Since the end of November last year, I’ve done three things relevant to my reading:

  1. … struggled to get over a bad cold.
  2. … cut back on using social network sites (and especially cut back on wading into arguments with idiots).
  3. … made an effort to spend more time reading books instead of internet glop.

The first was both involuntary and unpleasant, but has definitely helped with the latter two endeavours, which in contrast were a concerted effort (and were, obviously, quite linked to one another).

On the other hand, I also traveled, which usually takes a bite out of my reading time: not that one cannot read while traveling, but I tend to try make the most of time in a different place, and spend less time sitting with a book. 

Even so, the fruit of these efforts is, in part, that I have a few more books to discuss than usual. It’s worth noting, though, that some of the books I’ve read in the past few months aren’t in this post: I mentioned some already in a post about Icelandic books I’d read, and I’ve got maybe two dozen RPG book review posts sitting in the drafts folder, just waiting to be published, as well as a couple of posts about verse (one by troubadours, the other by moderns) waiting to be filled enough to bother making public, and a post about Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Moon series that I only just put up online a little while ago. 

So anyway, this post, though, is a mix of general fiction and nonfiction that didn’t line up with anything else thematically, or whatever. 

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