Monday, June 6, 2011

1000 Nights Check-in

I originally planned on updating my 1000 Nights personal challenge every day, then realized how much of a pain in the butt it might be, as well as how annoying ti might be to anyone following the blog, so I nixed that idea. Then I thought I should update every week, but even that creates some problems. 1000 nights in 7-day increments? I needed something rounder. So the new plan is to update every 10 days, so there will be a nice, even amount of updates.

Then, in all the excitement of finishing my first w1s1 weekly story yesterday, I forgot to update my reading. And so here we are, with an update for the first 11 days, rather than 10. Oh well.

Anyway, here is my list of poems and stories read (or reread) over the last 11 days:

Different Skies by China Mieville (Looking for Jake)
The Piazza by Herman Melville (The Piazza Tales)
By the Waters of Paradise by F Marion Crawford
The Masque of Red Death by Edgar Allen Poe (First Project Gutenberg Collection of E.A.P)
The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allen Poe (First Project Gutenberg Collection of E.A.P)
The Lonely Song of Laren Dorr by George RR Martin (Dreamsongs Vol II)
Ponies by Kij Johnson (
Scales by Alastair Reynolds (Lightspeed)
Dust Bunnies by Jeremy C. Shipp (The Chiaroscuro)
Grandpa's Bluetooth by Milo James Fowler (Liquid Imagination)
Museum Beetles by Simon Kewin (The Journal of Unlikely Entomology)

Poetry (by author)

TS Elliot
Burbank with a Baedeker: Bleistein with a Cigar

Walt Whitman
Scented Herbage of my Breast 
Whoever You Are Holding Me Now in Hand 
On Journeys Through the States
To The States 
To A Certain Cantatrice 
Me Imperturbe

Edgar Allen Poe
The Bells
The Raven

Snot too shabby! 11 short stories, 11 poems, 11 days. My favorite poems were easily the Walt Whitman ones, as evidenced by their number, but you can't go wrong with Poe or Elliot. Of the Whitmans, my favorite was Whoever You Are..., because it's a poem that speaks directly to the person reading it. Very nifty idea to go along with beautiful imagery. I'm no poet, and I don't really know "good" poetry, but I know what I like.

As for the stories, I think my favorite was "Dust Bunnies." Deeply moving, slightly disturbing. One of those stories that leaves you with a sensation rather than an opinion. A close second was Simon Kewin's "Museum Beetles," actually. Strong imagery, rich characterization, and plenty of wonderment, including (but not limited to) the ending.

Given the scope of this challenge, most of the stories and poems I read will be available free of charge, or at least in the form of anthologies as opposed to magazines. This is out of necessity, as I am not a rich man, and cannot afford to fatten up on back issues of my favorite magazines. For example, only two of the stories I've listed here require a purchase--those being the stories by George RR Martin and China Mieville--while the rest are available for easy reading online (I've included links for those) or for easy download via Project Gutenberg (do the digging for those yourselves, ya lazy bums!). So now that you have no monetary excuse not to participate...watcha waitin for?


  1. Holy crap, I'm in good company. Reynolds is the man -- Simon too, of course. Not to mention Poe...

    Major props to you on this quest!

  2. Thanks, Milo! Also, I just realized I only listed ten stories. Gonna fix that now.

  3. That's deeply impressive. The Cask of Amontillado is great isn't it? But, to echo Milo, Holy Crap - I'm not worthy to be in such company!

  4. Yes! The Cask of Amontillado is sick. This is the first I've really delved into Poe's work, and I'm being stunned at every turn.

    Also, yes, of course you're worthy. Museum Beetles should win an award. One of the best things I've read all year.

  5. Great work, Joe. Look at all them poems. Now I'm feeling bad, I should be doing that, too. Right, I'm going to have a rummage on my bookshelves.

  6. Thanks, Deb! Actually, while I have you, do you have any poetry recommendations? I have a lot of the classics from Project Gutenberg, but who are there some contemporary poets I should be ready?

  7. Err. . . I only read speclative poetry, you could try Chizine and Strange Horizons, Joe, as good starting points.

    Hold on, one of my literary friends was recommending some to me the other day. I'll dig them up:

    Electrocuting an Elephant by Ciarin Berry.

    The Forgotten Dialect of the Heart by Jack Gilbert.

    Faint Music by Robert Hass

    Life of Sundaysby Rodney Jones

    Four Tangerines by James Kimbrell

    That should keep you going. Some of those poems look pretty long.

  8. Spec Poetry is fine! I actually just read "Black Hole" by William John Watkins from a recent issue of Asimov's, and found it to be excellent.

    And thanks for the poems! I know Bradbury said to ignore contemporary poetry, but he also said to ignore contemporary fiction, so I have to believe it's just a bit of the "Things were better back in my day" syndrome old folks are prone to.