Salman Rushdie was brutally attacked and stabbed this month while speaking at the Chautauqua Institute in New York.
He is a personal hero of mine. A writer of vivid power and perception, a man of astounding courage, and a true defender of those most essential freedoms: of thought and of expression.
He was attacked by a man who sought the ultimate in censorship: to silence his voice and existence. The 1989 fatwa death sentence issued by Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini has hung over him like a Sword of Damocles. But a death sentence didn’t defer Rushdie from speaking. His own sentences will outlast Khomeini’s. His words will resonate far beyond the ignorant hate of his enemies. It’s because of Rushdie that I’m a lifelong opponent of censorship; book-burners are the villains in history and always will be, wherever they hail from and whatever their political flavor. My story The Last Library deals with exactly this.
I’m hoping for your speedy recovery, Mister Rushdie. And in the meantime, I’m rereading Midnight’s Children and The Satanic Verses with pleasure.
Speaking of tormented artists, I’m a lifelong fan of Vincent Van Gogh, so naturally I had to see what the Beyond Van Gogh exhibit (in Hartford) was all about. Snippets of personal letters appear against a constantly shifting panorama of his work, while entrancing music provides a meditative sonic dimension to his fierce, turbulent, and powerful use of colors. What I love about Van Gogh’s art is how it’s all movement, agony and ecstasy; the textures dare to tread into three dimensions, while the world vibrates as if from whirling electrons behind it all. His perspective seems to hail from another world.
The exhibit is a tad short considering the ticket price, and could have benefited from more historical liner notes, but it offers a unique and immersive celebration of a unique and cherished artist.
In entirely unrelated news, my story “An Incident on Ishtar” is now live on Escape Pod. Read to perfection by the talented Kitty Sarkozy, this tale of mystery and mayhem on a Venusian aerostat colony is one of my favorites and most personal. It has espionage, conspiracies, colonial life in the clouds, and bunnies.
And two of my stories (“Karma Among the Cloud Kings” and “A Matter of Shapespace”) have been translated for the fan-driven Romanian site Blogul DeSeFe as featured pieces. Hats off to the people behind this site, as they are driven by a genuine love for science fiction and their endeavors are often thankless.
Lastly, my humorous horror tale (yes, humorous horror) “The Doom That Came to Providence” has been acquired by Future Affairs Administration, a Chinese media company which brings stories to Mandarin-speaking audiences. This story was originally published in Alex Shvartsman’s popular anthology The Cackle of Cthulhu.