Thursday, June 26, 2008

Miscellaneous Updates

Yesterday a stack of Chinese magazines arrived from SCIENCE FICTION WORLD in Chengdu, two copies of each of three issues. Presumably they have stories of mine in them, although I have no idea which stories because even the table of contents and the by-lines are in Chinese. It's interesting to see what does have some English: the ads. At the back of the magazine are dual language ads for, the "Old Kingdom Trilogy," the 4th China International Cartoon and Animation Festival, and the movie WALL-E.

The language I am concentrating on right now is German, in preparation for my fall teaching gig at the University of Leipzig. I bought some CDs and am learning very slowly, since I have a bad ear for languages (and for music; I think they're related). I cannot seem to replicate the vowel sound in funf ("five"). I may be stuck counting only as far as four. Eins, zwei, drei, vier...

Sheila Williams at ASIMOV'S wants minor changes to my novella with the dwarf protagonist, "Act One," so I am making those.

Jeanne Cavalos at Odyssey is supposed to be sending me some student manuscripts to critique before I fly there to teach July 6, but these have not yet shown up in my mailbox. I'm eager to see my future students' past writing before we share a present classroom (all right, clumsy, but I couldn't resist).

Story recommendations: I'm reading my way through Jonathan Strahan's Best of the Year. So far, I've really liked: "The Last and Only, or Mr. Moskowitz Becomes French" (Peter Beagle); "Dead Horse Point" (Daryl Gregory); "Glory" (Greg Egan); "The Prophet of Flores" (Ted Kosmatka); "Kiosk" (Bruce Sterling); "The Witch's Headstone" (Neil Gaiman); and "Last Contact" (Stephen Baxter) -- and I'm only two-thirds of the way through the book. This anthology is a winner.

Finally, various interviews and reviews for DOGS are going up all over the Internet, and I'm happy with (surprisingly) all of them. Now if only the actual book would come out...


Joshua Samuel Brown said...

Nancy, this is Josh Brown, one of your more hyperactive students at one of the summer workshops you led back in the early 1990s at SUNY Brockport.

I've spent much of the years since graduation living in China and Taiwan, where I become a big fan of Chinese Sci-fi mags.
I've actually been noodling with a couple of sci-fi stories set in China, and had my first China-based horror story run in the Asian Literary Review not to long ago. I'm not madly in love with it - it was one of those...painful literary births, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, just wanted to touch base. Great blog, and drop a line sometimes.


Nancy Kress said...

Joshua-- Congratulations on the sale to the Asian Literary Review. I really enjoyed my very brief visit to China, and I hope to get back there someday.

Clifford W. Dunbar said...

Nancy, I don't think that an ear for music and an ear for languages have anything to do with each other. I do remember reading a novel, I think by Gordon Dickson, where the main character had perfect pitch and also a knack for languages. The point was made that the two are related. I don't buy it.

I tried to play a series of wind instruments for years and finally had to admit I was getting nowhere with them. On the other hand, I love languages so much that I ended up with a Master's in Linguistics. I took many
more language classes than the linguistic curriculum required and always enjoyed them and did well in them. Today I live in a multicultural community and routinely use another language, one which I didn't even study much in school. I find this very satisfying.

Robert Gus Gissing said...

You might want to look up Rosetta Stone language software. Our library has free access to it for its members and laureen has used it a bit of learning german. She also got out a German copy of Anne of Green Gables and a german english dictionary, to bring her german up to snuff.

Getting set to send of Osymandias' Spirit to the Writers of the Future this week.

TheOFloinn said...

I bought some CDs and am learning very slowly.... I cannot seem to replicate the vowel sound in funf ("five"). I may be stuck counting only as far as four. Eins, zwei, drei, vier...

Okay, here's the trick.

First, say "foonf"

Now, say "feenf"

Now, say both together. :-D

Or purse your lips as if you were about to say "foonf," but say "feenf" instead.

Actually, if you just say "foonf" most Germans will smile and nod. Heck, half of them will probably think you're speaking an obscure dialect from the Swaebisch hills.

In northern Germany, zwei is pronounced "zwo" with rather more w than v in the w. This confused me no end for a while the time I rode the Rhine steamer south in my misspent youth. And you should hear the Bavarian accent on my Oktoberfest album. Eins comes out more like oyns. Of course other Germans make fun of the southern accent. Leipzig is in Saxony, and last I heard, the mush-mouth drawl of the Saxon Hills turned all the o's and u's into umlauts, and dropped their final r's.

Vielen Glueck mit dem Deutch.

Nancy Kress said...

Mike, you just made everything much more complicated -- a thing you are VERY good at! But no matter how I purse my lips, I'm going to sound like an American making a hash of German.

dolphintornsea said...

I like Mike's suggestion. I know a little German, and she's coming to visit in November. Seriously! Weighs about 90lb.

Do you know any Scotsmen/women? Listen to the way they pronounce "truth" in a broad accent. I think that's the vowel you're looking for.

g d townshende said...

German is a language I'd absolutely love to learn (beyond the very few words I *do* know), but at the moment I'm focusing on Portuguese (the European variety).

My oldest son is currently learning to play clarinet, and he let me take a shot at it the other day. I did okay, considering that I haven't touched a wind instrument since about 1977, and especially since what I played back then was the saxophone, and NOT the clarinet!

Até logo, meus amigos.

JKB said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nancy Kress said...

I can't see your email address, no -- who are you?

JKB said...

I"m sorry, I live in germany and found your blog through Scalzis...I'm no stalker. :) My email is jaekaebee at com.