Wednesday, October 04, 2006


This will be the last episode for a little while. I need a break, at least for a month. So I'm going on a podcast hiatus at least until November, so I can focus on writing. Teaching eats into so much of my writing time anyway, and my progress has dropped to astoundingly low levels.

So I'll be back hopefully in November with the start of Series 3. I'll have more fiction and reviews, as well as a guest story by Hal Duncan and a guest review by Mark Teppo. Hope to talk at y'all then.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Series 2, Episode 10: One Less

Literary Reading

"One Less"
   —Publication in Americana, February 2005

"I've never seen you before! Go away!" Cory slammed the door in my face. The chain made scraping noises as it rattled against the door. I stood there for a moment, dumbfounded, knowing she could see me through the peephole. I couldn't believe it. Of all the people, I thought Cory would be the one person who I could talk to about all this, and she didn't know me either. I walked down the stairs to my car; the space I had parked in was now occupied by a rusty VW Beetle. On the hood, Plymouth stood on all stubby fours, a plush hood ornament.

"Why are you still here?" he asked.

The tips of my fingers and earlobes tingled. I shivered despite the heat as the hairs on the nape of my neck prickled.

"What do you want?" I asked.

"To find out why you weren't erased with the others," he said, matter-of-fact. "You should have disappeared in a blink, instead of this fading-away mess. What makes you so special?"

Music by Cargo Cult

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Series 2, Episode 09: The King's Last Song (review)

Book Review

The King's Last Song by Geoff Ryman
   —Publication by HarperCollins UK, March 2006
Very quickly, as they buzz past buses and women in stalls and lunchtime workers on their way back to the bank or telegraph office, Arn lifts himself up onto his knees, turns around over the back of the seat, and pecks a kiss on Luc's cheek.

He plainly could not help it. Luc doesn't blame him. Arn was overcome. But Luc does not know what to make of it. In the end, he decides to pity. His friend could not help it, but he got over-excited, he is from a different culture, and you have to be aware of imposing Western meanings. It was a familial kiss...

No it wasn't.

(Full text review here.)

Music by Cargo Cult

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Series 2, Episode 08: Capriole

Literary Reading

"Capriole" [Read]
He stood in the courtyard dominated by ancient oaks, and waited for something to happen. His index finger tingled slightly. In a nearby tree was the fluorescent orange frisbee that he had accidentally planted there the week before in his overzealous throwing (his father had just clucked his tongue and said, "Well that's that, then"). Tristram thought about the word on the inside of his ring, the word in direct contact with his skin, and he jumped.

It was an unremarkable jump, maybe a foot from the ground, but he could have sworn that he had hung at the apex for just a hair longer than normal. He jumped again, and this time he was certain. He jumped again and again, his height and hang time increasing with each attempt, his landings soft, as if cushioned. He couldn't believe it. Up and up and up, as if using an exponential pogo stick, laughing with the joy of it, jumping high enough to reach the upper branches of the oak tree, and then snagging the frisbee with ease.

Music by Cargo Cult

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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Series 2, Episode 07: Shriek: An Afterword (review)

Book Review

Shriek: An Afterword by Jeff VanderMeer [Read extracts and deleted scenes]
   —Publication by Pan Macmillan, January 2006
   —Publication by Tor Books, August 2006
There came a night so terrible that no one ever dared to name it. There came a night so terrible that I could not. There came a night so terrible that no one could explain it. There came the most terrible of nights. No, that's not right, either. There came the most terrible of nights that could not be forgotten, or forgiven, or even named. That's closer, but sometimes I choose not to revise. Let it be raw and awkward splayed across the page, as it was in life.

Words would later be offered up like "atrocity," "massacre," and "madness," but I reject those words. They did not, could not, cannot contain what they need to contain.

Could we have known? Could we have wrenched our attention from our more immediate concerns long enough to understand the warning signs? Now, of course, it all seems clear enough. Duncan had said the war could not continue in the same way for long, and he was right.

(Full text review here.)

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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Series 2, Episode 06: Flight Is For Those Who Have Not Yet Crossed Over

Literary Reading

"Flight Is For Those Who Have Not Yet Crossed Over" by Jeff VanderMeer [Read]
   —Publication in The Third Alternative no. 17, 1998
   —Reprint in Infinity Plus, 1999
   —Reprint in Secret Life, Golden Gryphon Books, 2004
D'Souza loses his balance, slides slowly down the bars, into the darkness of the floor.

"Take a message to my wife or do not take a message to my wife..."

And then, in a self-mocking tone: "It truly does not matter. I have dreamed of flying to her myself, you know. Flying over this country of El Toreador. My arms are like wings and I can feel the wind cool against my face. All the stars are out and there are no clouds. Such a clear, clean darkness. It seems almost a miracle, such clarity...Below me I can make out the shapes of banana plantations and textile factories. I can tell the green of the rainforest from that of the pampas. I see the ruins of the Maya and the shapes of mountains, distant...and yet when I wake I am still here, in my cell, and I know I am lost."

D'Souza looks up at Gabriel, the whites of his eyes gleaming through the broken mask of his face and says, "My wife's name is Maria D'Souza. When I have died, you must tell her so she can come for my body."

Music by Cargo Cult

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Thursday, July 27, 2006

Promo: City of Saints and Madmen


In lieu of an episode this week, I give you an audio promo that I did for the Bantam release of Jeff VanderMeer's City of Saints and Madmen. Enjoy.

Music by Robert Devereux

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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Series 2, Episode 05: Bangkok 8 (review)

Book Review

Bangkok 8 by John Burdett [Read extract]
   —Publication by Knopf, June 2003
   —Reprint by Vintage, July 2004
There are several inches of slack within which every car can shunt, and our colleagues show considerable skill and cunning in making a space. In no time at all I am able to drive up onto the sidewalk, where the siren terrorizes the pedestrians. Pichai grins. I am skilled at very dangerous driving from the days when we used to take drugs and steal cars together, a golden age which came to an end when Pichai murdered our yaa baa dealer and we had to seek refuge in the Three Jewels of the Buddha, the dharma, and the sangha. There will be time in this chronicle to explain yaa baa.


We are very happy. Sabai means feeling good and sanuk means having fun. We are both as we race toward the bridge in demonic haste, with Pichai chanting in Pali, the ancient language of the Gautama Buddha, for protection from accidents. He asks also of the Buddhist saints that we do not accidentally kill anyone who does not deserve it, a touchy point with Pichai.

Krung Thep means City of Angels, but we are happy to call it Bangkok if it helps to separate a farang from his money.

(Full text review here.)

Music by Cargo Cult

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Thursday, June 15, 2006

Series 2, Episode 04: One Big Crunch

Literary Reading

"One Big Crunch" [Read]
   —Publication in OPi8: New Dark Culture, July 2005
Dashed yellow lines strobe past in my headlights, rolling to the left under the car, dividing the asphalt into neat little lanes. The trees flash by in the darkness, blurred purgatory grey. I pull the Mustang out of my lane, line up those pulsing yellow dashes dead center in my grille. I edge the wheel to the left, back to the right, taunting, teasing. The beltline around Raleigh, North Carolina is desolate at 3 a.m., free of witnesses. White Zombie roars out of the speakers: ". . . eye for an eye and a tooth for the truth . . ." I nose the Mustang past sixty, past seventy, past eighty. I’m all over the road now.

Flashing blue lights appear behind me and I smile.

Caution: contains some adult material and potentially disturbing imagery

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Monday, June 12, 2006

Series 2, Episode 03: Crystal Rain (review)

Book Review

Crystal Rain by Tobias S. Buckell [Read extract]
   —Publication by Tor Books, February 2006
Cautious, they followed the destruction inward. To walk over the hot ground, they bound their feet with aloe and arm-sized leaves. They choked from the smoke. When they could walk into the destruction no longer, they turned around and found a weary-looking man sitting on a steaming metal boulder.

He wore a top hat, a long trench coat, and black boots. His eyes were gray, his dreadlocks black, and his face ashen. It was as if this man had not seen sun in all his life, but was born brown once.

He spoke gibberish to them, then touched his throat several times until the hunters understood his words.

"Where am I?"

(Full text review here.)

Music by Cargo Cult

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Saturday, May 13, 2006

Series 2, Episode 02: The Patron Saint of Plagues (review)

Book Review

The Patron Saint of Plagues by Barth Anderson [Read extract]
   —Publication by Bantam Spectra, April 2006
He stood and looked across Nissevalle Valley. The greenhouses had been emptied of sprouts, and fields were planted and primed for summer storms and sun. For nearly two decades, farms from Alberta to Chihuahua had battled seasonal vCaMV outbreaks for meager yields. Gold mold was known to sweep through whole regions in a single season, like a slow-motion prairie fire. But it had never come to Nissevalle. This quop was poised for another very profitable year, and losing shares now would be a disaster. Spinach rippled with passes of May breeze, and so did the corn, low and fluttering. Field hands in hats like Stark's weaved through the young crops as tillers dogged behind, maneuvering through the tomatoes on preprogrammed weeding missions. The idyllic haze of Nissevalle Farm suddenly looked like so much rot.

"Jesus," he whispered. "It really here."

After eighteen years away from this farm, Henry David Stark was still getting himself apace with death's routine visits here. It was one thing to behold it in a hot zone, or an anonymous hospital, but another entirely to see death pass between the paddocks and hay barns of his childhood. Yesterday morning in the creamery, loud with lowing and meowing and the mechanical gasp of milkers, a heavy-headed cow swung her face away from bright headlights shooting suddenly through the dawn's fog and stepped backwards with a stomping hoof, catching a small kitten unawares. Stark had cried out, trying to scare the cat from danger. But blink. Gone. Then, last night in the goat barn, Stark watched as three kids, slick with blood, slid out of their nanny's body, but without so much as a kick, or even a breath. Stark was surprised how such small passings troubled him, after what he'd seen in, say, China's Borna outbreak. But he'd left the CDC's Special Pathogens Unit to take charge of its Surveillance and Response Central Command two years ago, in order to distance himself from death's rhythms. In bringing the Central Command (that is, himself) to the co-op farm last January, it was inevitable that he'd synchronize himself with death--yet again.

(Full text review here.)

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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Publicist Guidelines

(with apologies to John Scalzi)

Are you interested in sending me a book to review for Lies and Little Deaths? I've recently received some submissions from authors hoping to spread the news about their just- or soon-to-be-published books, and though these authors are people I've gotten to know either in person or through the blogosphere, my reviews have been even-handed and fair.

So if you are an author or publicist who wants to send me something to review, here's what you should know before we go any further:

1. Lies and Little Deaths is a podcast produced by me, Jason Erik Lundberg, in which I read short stories aloud, review books, and talk about things that get my goat. Though the podcast has been stripped down, previous episodes have included discussions of literature, fantastic fiction, writing, politics, films, music and social issues. Stats indicate that the podcast has on average about a hundred listeners.

2. I reserve the right to talk about whatever the hell I want. Though I no longer audioblog on the show, I may bring that feature back sometime if something really bugs me. That said, I do not claim to be an ultimate authority on anything. I talk about what interests me, but often may not have all the information. That's where you come in. Comments are enabled on the LLD blog page so that we can open a discussion. If you think I'm full of shit, you are entirely welcome to tell me so, though you'd better back yourself up with evidence. Ad hominem attacks are not welcome here.

3. Also, I reserve the right to review whatever books I want. These typically include those that are stacked in my long reading queue, but this could also include books that you may want to send me. However, if I don't like the book, I may not finish it; I go through a lot of books, and don't have time to read something I don't enjoy on some level. So if you send your book and I don't like it, rather than waste time and energy saying why I don't like it, I will simply not review it. To save yourself the trouble of possibly wasting money on production and postage, it's best to query me first if you think your book is something I might like. Take a look at what I've already reviewed to get an idea of my literary tastes.

4. The best way to get ahold of me is through email, at I try to respond to email as quickly as I can, but I also teach college English, as well as writing novels, so my time is limited. If I haven't gotten back to you in a week, feel free to follow up with me. However, if I tell you "no thanks," no amount of pleading or cajoling will get me to change my mind.

5. I read fairly widely in both literature and fantastic fiction, but the books that get my attention typically have a surreal or magical bent. I'm not as interested in hard science fiction, high fantasy, splatterpunk, or books where nothing really happens, though I know of exceptions to all of these that I'm willing to look at because of exceptional style or original content. I also read graphic novels and YA fiction. If you're unsure where your book fits into this, query me first.

6. Thus far, I have not conducted any interviews on the podcast. That may change in the future, but right now, I just don't have the time.

7. If you have something cool and I decide to review it, it may take a while before I get to it. Like I said, my time is precious, and there are a lot of books that I want to read. However, I may at least mention it at LundBlog in the meantime. Again, no guarantees, but if I dig the vibe of your work, I'll try to at least get the word out.

8. Any other questions? Query me.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Series 2, Episode 01: Words

Literary Reading

"Words" by Zoran Živković [Read]
   —Publication in Twelve Collections and The Teashop, Polaris Press, 2005; PS Publishing, 2006
   —Reprint in Infinity Plus, December 2005
He had decided to buy the anthology because of the flower on the cover. As a plant expert he knew that such a flower did not exist, but that was the very reason it had appealed to him. He took the book to the cashier in a somewhat uneasy state. It seemed somehow unfitting for a man his age to show an interest in romantic verse. It was almost like buying a pornographic magazine. Luckily the salesgirl didn't take note of the title. All she did was look at the price and take the exact change he handed her.

He knew a thing or two about love, of course. Not from personal experience in this case, either, but was that necessary? Most likely people are born with such awareness. How else could it be? Nonetheless, when he set to reading the book, the unease from the store returned, despite the fact that he was alone. He even blushed. He only found relief with the thought that the anthology should be considered a handbook on love. Then everything became easier and quite pleasant.

He was surprised to find that the words in the book charmed him even more than the tender and exalted feelings. He suddenly became aware of something that had escaped his notice. Beautiful words exist. They weren't necessarily special or rare, rather ordinary words that were to be found in other books too. But for some reason or other they had never looked beautiful in the handbooks. Or rather, their beauty hadn't caught his eye.

Music by Cargo Cult

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Friday, April 21, 2006

Interlude #4: Metacast

The future of Lies and Little Deaths is discussed.

Referenced Sites
The Seanachai

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Thursday, March 30, 2006

Episode 5.5: Review of Dreams of the Compass Rose

Audioblog. A mosaic novel is reviewed. Reprint rights.

Referenced Sites
Two-part response to "Frey and Oprah: So What?"
Geoff Ryman to receive 2005 Tiptree Award
A Public Space
V for Vendetta
Magic Lessons by Justine Larbalestier
Dreams of the Compass Rose by Vera Nazarian [ text ]

The Word Nerds
City of Saints and Madmen

Music by Cargo Cult

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Friday, March 17, 2006

Interlude #3: Illin'

Being sick and The Ricky Gervais Show are discussed.

Referenced Sites
The Office (BBC)
The Ricky Gervais Show

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Thursday, March 02, 2006

Episode 5: Solipsister

The fifth podcast.

A story is read. New releases, writing advice, and the death of a science fiction genius are discussed.

"Solipsister" [Read]
   —Publication in Electric Velocipede no. 9, Fall 2005
This was a situation that would normally have panicked him, or perhaps driven him insane, but there was something soothing about the whiteness. It had a comforting womb-like quality; he felt warm and loved. Time seemed to have no meaning in this place, and Raymond was content to exist here forever.

A streak of grey flashed across his vision, and he momentarily thought it a hallucination or a remnant of his imagination, but soon another followed, then another. The streaks gathered and formed shapes, first circles, then large stars which spun erratically. The whiteness darkened to grey, while the stars glowed orange and then yellow. Raymond felt pressure against his eyes, surprised at the sensation, and realized that the jumping and spinning stars were once again the result of him rubbing his eyelids too hard. He could feel his fists being removed from his face, and his arms lowering to his sides.

He opened his eyes.

Referenced Sites
Voices: New Media Fiction
City of Saints and Madmen by Jeff VanderMeer
BlueGreen Planet
Second Chance Book Adoption
The Office (BBC)
"Ples Sa Duhovima"
Octavia Butler
Douglas Smith's Foreign Market List

Podcaster Confessions

Music by Cargo Cult

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Thursday, February 16, 2006

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Interlude #2: Going Bi-Weekly

A change in schedule, upcoming episodes and excellent publishing news are whispered.

Referenced Sites

Two Cranes Press
Off the Map
The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror

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Saturday, February 04, 2006

Texts of Essays Online

In case you wanted to read the text versions of the essays I read in the last episode, I have posted them at my LiveJournal:

"Just Put Down the Pizza Already"

"Frey and Oprah: So What?"

Enjoy, and have a groovy weekend.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Episode 4: The Artists Pentaptych

The fourth podcast.

A story is read. Chinese New Year and James Frey are discussed.

"The Artists Pentaptych" [Read]
   —Publication in Lone Star Stories, December 2004
   —Nominated for the 2004 Fountain Award
   —Finalist in the 2004 NCSU Short-Short Story Contest

Komang looks on as her wares are pored over by the American tourists, as they pick through the fruits of her livelihood and determine whether she will eat this night. The American woman eyes an intricate scarf that took Komang the better part of a month to craft, running her thick indelicate fingers over the fabric, not truly appreciating the artistry that went into creating such a thing. Both the tourists reek of Western wealth and privilege, and Komang knows in her soul that they will be stingy in their purchases.

Hers is the skill of batik tulis, the artisan who works in fabric and wax. In her youth, royalty throughout the Middle East and Asia clamored for her designs. Her hand, from a very young age, was the most steady of any that had been seen in a hundred years. When she drew her canting over cotton or silk, she needed no charcoal guidelines, and her strokes and curves flowed like perfection. She would outline the leaves of bougainvillea, or trace scenes from The Ramayana, and her praises were sung throughout a dozen lands.

Referenced Sites

Chinese New Year at Wikipedia
Neomonde Bakery & Deli
Mythologism: Story Grenades Out of Words
"Author Is Kicked Out of Oprah Winfrey's Book Club" at The New York Times
"A Million Little Lies" at The Smoking Gun
"Frey in Hell" by Bill Shunn
"Arctic Monkeys" by Clare Dudman

Music by Cargo Cult

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Friday, January 27, 2006

Episode 3.5: Audioblog/Reviews of Collections/Novel Progress

PodcasterCon round-up. LLD news. Chinese New Year. Wal-Mart Effect. Two books reviewed. More listed. Novel progress. Moleskine notebooks.

Referenced Sites

Triangle Area Chinese American Society
The Wal-Mart Effect by Charles Fishman
Looking for Jake by China Miéville
How We Are Hungry by Dave Eggers
Moleskine Notebooks

Music by Cargo Cult

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Saturday, January 21, 2006

Mea Culpa

No new episode this week. I've been extremely busy, what with classes starting up again, and getting some significant work done on the Tower novel, so my time for the podcast got sacrificed.

But I'll be back next week with reviews of Dave Eggers' How We Are Hungry and China Mieville's Looking for Jake, as well as a wrap-up of PodcasterCon 2006.

See you then.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Without the Talky Bits

I've re-recorded and mixed my two stories previously podcasted here, and have uploaded them without all the music and talky bits. Just the fiction, baby. If you're interested, they're now available for mp3 download at my LiveJournal.

(I'm not linking directly to the files because I don't want to inflict them on my subscribers who would prefer not to download them. But if you want to, go to the above link.)

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Episode 3: The Specialist's Hat

The third podcast.

A guest story is read.

"The Specialist's Hat" by Kelly Link [Read]
   —Publication in Event Horizon, November 1998
   —Reprint in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror XII, July 1999
   —Reprint in The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, October 1999
   —Winner of the 1999 World Fantasy Award
   —Reprint in Crossroads, August 2004

Claire's face is stubborn. "When you're Dead," she says, "you stay up all night long."

"When you're dead," the babysitter snaps, "it's always very cold and damp, and you have to be very, very quiet or else the Specialist will get you."

"This house is haunted," Claire says.

"I know it is," the babysitter says. "I used to live here."

Referenced Sites

Stranger Things Happen
"Most of My Friends Are Two-Thirds Water," read by Alex Wilson

Music by Cargo Cult

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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Interlude #1: Reminders and Ramblings

An unconference, a new novel, and future podcasts are discussed.

Referenced Sites

First Night Raleigh

Music by 7 Seconds of Love

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