Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Haircut of Doom

I have the thickest hair of anyone I know. I don't mean that it can't do sums or thinks anchovies are vegetables. I mean thick as in luxurious -- but without the luxury. Last Tuesday I did the 5K charity run and came 21st -- from last! My time was an appalling 32 minutes 44 seconds, but next month I'll do better. Maybe. I'm just annoyingly glad and unreasonably proud I finished at all. But if I'd had a haircut before the race I might have overheated less and run faster. These photos contrast my head in two different cycles of its general existence, pre-scissors and post-scissors. In the latter state I look a little like a wannabe dictator. In an ideal state I really would be a dictator. But a benign one. Sometimes.

I am now working on my 496th story. It's a ghost story devoid of puns or wordplay of any kind, and it's about a music festival for ghosts. I even intend to resist the temptation to make jokes about 'soul' music. I began it a few years ago but kept abandoning and returning to it, a working method that is typical of me. Now I need to apply myself more rigorously and finish it before the end of this month, as I want to submit it to the new Tartarus anthology of strange tales. The other option is that it will appear in a new collection next year, maybe as the title story, which means that the book will be called The Phantom Festival. But this remains to be seen, like so many other things.

496 is an interesting number. It's a 'perfect' number, in other words a positive integer that is the sum of its proper positive divisors. Perfect numbers are so rare that between 0 and 1000 there are only three examples, namely 6, 28 and 496. This means that the only stories I'll ever write that correspond to perfect numbers are: 'The Fury Machine' (from 1991), 'Landing' (from 1992) and 'The Phantom Festival (hopefully finished in 2009). Never again will I write a story that correponds to a perfect number. Sniff! I'm sure I'll get over it. Easily.

Had a nice pre-release review of Twisthorn Bellow from Publisher's Weekly. Naturally enough, I hope this is just the start...

Apparently if you find a prime number that is not already known you can get a Ph. D. I would really like to do this.
Me too, but they are really high now. One of the highest is: 2 to the power of 43,112,609, minus 1. Crazily high!

What I really want to do is find an even prime number
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