1) An engaging, pointed interview with China Mieville. I found it to not only be a very provocative interview, but a meaty laying-out of how one writer sees their fiction, as both vocation and production. I'm particularly struck by the notion of the irreducibility of one's worldview in writing, and his contention that storytelling is not some wondrous impulse or healing force, but just something that we do, that may not always be a good thing.
I found this useful to ponder as I work on my next Forces of Geek column and my next Apex blog; the former is entitled "Fiction and Friction" and discusses the inherent value and problems of participatory versus directed narratives, inspired in part by some of Paul Jessup's recent posts on his blog. The latter piece doesn't have a title yet but is an attempt to tackle the varieties of realism that seem to be popping up (often horribly mutated or cliched) in recent fantasy.
2) I was quite saddened to hear that MadCon will be Harlan Ellison's last convention, and that he is apparently in very poor health. I would love to be able to go and just thank him for a lifetime of inspiration and instigation. His work has influenced me as a writer and critical thinker (yes, warts and all!) over the years, and few short stories mean so much to me as "Repent, Harlequin, said the Ticktockman."
3) Via Patrick Rothfuss, a website showcasing (and selling, by the look of it) antique maps. Lovely little cultural artifacts, aren't they? I often wonder what kind of mind it took to produce these kinds of geographically-imaginative schema.
4) io9 does the hard work and comes up with a list of "The Chosen Research Areas of Mad Scientists, 1810-2010." A good basis for a submission to the Annals of Improbable Research, perhaps?
5) I have finally gone back to finish Lud-in-the-Mist after leaving it sadly unloved