I just wanted to post something here to let people know I wasn’t floating face down in the Tiber. Things are going well, but my internet connections remain chancy and tend to be available during the day when I’m busy running around doing other stuff. Then there’s the colorful side-events, like the other night when I was busy tapping out an e-mail while sitting on a bench in the Villa Borghese. A guy sat down next to me and asked me for a cigarette; I told him I didn’t smoke and took no more notice of him until I saw that he was taking his clothes off. I’m not sure whether he was signalling to me that he considered the bench his bed or whether he was preparing to pay me the Ultimate Compliment, but either way it seemed like getting the hell out of there was Plan A. So I’m afraid my signoff for that email may have been a little abrupt…
Anyway, the two things.
1. Chinotto Neri is one of the best soft-drinks in the annals of softdrinking. I have no idea what it is made from; some derivative of smack, it would seem. I’ve refrained from mainlining the stuff only because I have no taste-buds in my arm. (Anymore.) Its only serious rival, in my view, is the Vernor’s of my youth. The Vernor’s of today is a pallid thing, which one can drink without feeling the slightest burning sensation. In ancient days a bottle of Vernor’s would raise your core temperature five degrees and, if it were a hot day, you’d have to be rushed to the hospital. Chinotto Neri is totally different, but if I keep I keep slamming the stuff down I may end up in some sort of treatment facility, if not actually a hospital.
2. Lou Anders, intrepid editor at Pyr, is teaming up with Jonathan Strahan to produce a massive sword-and-sorcery anthology on the magnitude of the already-iconic New Space Opera. Lou blogs about it here, and Jonathan Strahan here. So it looks like big things are in store for fans of the genre. Big things [he repeated, as if the phrase were freighted with some hidden meaning, glistening with dark mystery like a dewy bottle of Chinotto Neri straight out of the fridge].