Kelly McCullough writes fantasy, science fiction, and books for kids of varying ages. He lives in Wisconsin with his physics professor wife and a small herd of cats. His novels include the WebMage and Fallen Blade series — Penguin/ACE, and the forthcoming School for Sidekicks — Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan. His short fiction has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. He also dabbles in science fiction as science education with The Chronicles of the Wandering Star — part of an NSF-funded science curriculum — and the science comic Hanny & the Mystery of the Voorwerp, which he co-authored and co-edited — funding provided by NASA and the Hubble Space Telescope. Kelly on Twitter, Facebook, G+, ello

Friday Cat Blogging

February 27, 2015 in Cat Things, Friday Cat Blogging, Pets and other friends

There’s never been a jail built that could hold me, copper!

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Dude, it’s a chair…you can just walk out.

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Mine’s a box! Harder to escape than a chair. Did I mention I have a box!

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I have the strangest family…

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I find that a little nip helps with that.

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Graphic nip flashback!*

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I’m sooo confused. How did I even get in this lineup?**

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More importantly, how does one get out?** (Also, I am no cat—dog)

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Sorry, pal, but it’s like the looking glass in here–white rabbits all the way down and no exits.

(Also, not a cat, in case you were wondering—dog)

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I are not a cat to. I are Sundog!

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*Cat wish-fulfilment art courtesy of Matt Kuchta

**Guest fuzzbutts appearing courtesy of Sled Dog in the City.

People like stuff that you don’t. Get over it.

February 26, 2015 in Musings, rant, The Genre

This is a rant that grows out of the whole anti/pro steampunk kerfuffle that the f&sf genresphere has been aflutter with of late, in which many on the two sides are flinging great gobs of words at each other like punctuation-laden poo. It’s not pretty and in many cases it seems to be a mix of sour grapes and tribalism, and it looks just like every other variation of this argument we’ve had for the last fifty years. The only real difference being what sub-genre/genre/literary sensibility we’re arguing about.

One of the things that we as a genre community seem to be most vulnerable to is the idea that our personal favorite type of writing is the only type of writing that other people should love and pay attention to, and that anyone who disagrees that our pet subgenre is the one true form of worthwhile writing is a poo-poo head. This tends to be expressed in one of two ways:

1) I want more of my stuff, and why isn’t everyone writing and publishing that? “Waaaaah!” *POUT* It is often accompanied by the stomping of rhetorical feet and tearing of hair. It mostly looks like highly articulate toddlers throwing a tantrum because the world isn’t treating them and their pet interests as the center of the universe.

2) How can anyone believe that XXXXX is worthy of their attention and dollars? XXXXX is immoral and anti-intellectual or just plain bad. The people who read/write it are dupes/exploiters or simply uncultured. If people really understood the underlying dynamic of XXXXX they’d realize their mistake and come over and read YYYYY which is the one true way. It mostly looks like even more articulate toddlers throwing a tantrum because the world isn’t treating them and their pet interests as the center of the universe.

People, get a freaking grip! Not everyone likes what you like, and that’s okay. In fact it’s wonderful and healthy and necessary for the survival of a culture. Diversity of thought and idea and taste is one of the single most important parts of our ongoing survival as a species. It’s what drives us to try that funny looking new fruit, or accept that those who don’t look and think like us are people too, or to take a long walk over the hill and find out there’s also cool stuff over there.

The tendency of people to act as though stuff they don’t like is awful and bad for the culture if not downright immoral is one of the human tribal reactions that I find least attractive. It’s genre fundamentalism and it’s ugly and petty and basically unhealthy, both for the culture and for the head of bile it builds up within the person in question.

Does this mean I’m immune to the impulse? Of course not. There are sub-genres I think are stupid or hateful or bad for people. When my stuff doesn’t sell as well as somebody else’s stuff I get a little jealous and pouty. Hey, I’m human. However, I really do try to throttle it down, because it’s bad for me and indulging the impulse is bad for the culture. And I sure as hell don’t throw a public tantrum about it.

If you were a geek in school (and if you’re reading this, the odds are pretty good) you remember what it was like to have the cool kids looking down on you for loving Star Trek or Dr. Who or reading those funny Lord of the Rings books. This impulse to say my genre/subgenre good = your genre/subgenre bad is the exact same shit. Do you really want to be doing that?

(Originally published on the Wyrdsmiths blog November 10 2010, and original comments may be found there. Reposted and reedited as part of the reblogging project)

Retro Friday Cat Blogging: Guy Fawkes Edition

February 25, 2015 in Cat Things, Friday Cat Blogging, Pets and other friends, Reblogging Project

This was originally published on the 5th of November—obviously.

Remember, remember the 5th of November!

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Of course I rememberz

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Guy Fawkes, why do you ask?

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Wait, back up. When did it stop being July?

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(Originally published on the Wyrdsmiths blog November 5 2010, and original comments may be found there. Reposted and reedited as part of the reblogging project)

Retro Friday Cat Blogging

February 24, 2015 in Cat Things, Friday Cat Blogging, Pets and other friends, Reblogging Project

Seashell cats sussurates sussertively

I’z teh picture of decorum and tranquility and not teh lest bit tippziez

Grarr!

I’z an art catz!

(Originally published on the Wyrdsmiths blog October 29 2010, and original comments may be found there. Reposted and reedited as part of the reblogging project)

Retro Friday Cat Blogging

February 23, 2015 in Cat Things, Friday Cat Blogging, Pets and other friends, Reblogging Project

What do you mean, you’re going away for the weekend?

What do you mean, you’re going away for the weekend?

What do you mean, you’re going away for the weekend?

What do you mean…ooh sun!

(Originally published on the Wyrdsmiths blog October 25 2010, and original comments may be found there. Reposted and reedited as part of the reblogging project)

Friday Cat Blogging

February 20, 2015 in Uncategorized

Sometimes you climb the bear.

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Somtimes bear climbs you.

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I do not believe in the bear. I will not believe in the bear. The bear does not see me.

The bear passes me without notice. I will not believe in the bear…

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I AM the bear.

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Screw bears. The laptop is MY nemesis.

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Retro Friday Cat Blogging

February 19, 2015 in Cat Things, Friday Cat Blogging, Pets and other friends, Reblogging Project

Bored pieta.

I’d eat you if it didn’t mean moving.

Could you untie my feetz?

Zombie otter sez “brainz!”

As soon as lazer eyez finish chargz yer toast!

Guest cat Coconut iz ready fer clozeups.*

(Originally published on the Wyrdsmiths blog October 15 2010, and original comments may be found there. Reposted and reedited as part of the reblogging project)

Brain Empty (Reblog)

February 19, 2015 in About Kelly, Fallen Blade, Reblogging Project, Writing

2015 update: I wrote this day after I finished Broken Blade and it’s hardly worth porting over, but there it is.

I’m done with the first book in the Chronicles of Aral Kingslayer and it’s left me completely wrung and kind of empty feeling. Not my normal pattern with a book. My head feels like there’s been a fire inside that just burned the whole thing hollow.
(Originally published on the Wyrdsmiths blog October 20 2010, and original comments may be found there (much more there in comments than here). Reposted and reedited as part of the reblogging project)

Retro Friday Cat Blogging

February 18, 2015 in Cat Things, Friday Cat Blogging, Pets and other friends, Reblogging Project

Lazy Friday Afternoon Nap Cat

Lazy Friday Afternoon Nap Cat

Lazy Friday Afternoon Nap Cat

Lazy Friday Afternoon Nap Cat

(Originally published on the Wyrdsmiths blog October 8 2010, and original comments may be found there. Reposted and reedited as part of the reblogging project)

Retro Friday Cat Blogging

February 17, 2015 in Cat Things, Friday Cat Blogging, Pets and other friends, Reblogging Project

I haz a flavr and it is itchy!
IMG_5278Black cat expands to fill the negative space.

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Why would I want a cat door when there’s a perfectly good people door for you to open for me?

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The body is ready myaster!

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None shall pass!
Iz confused Iz not nun…*
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*2105 update: This last is a bonus shot not originally included.
(Originally published on the Wyrdsmiths blog October 1 2010, and original comments may be found there. Reposted and reedited as part of the reblogging project)