Titles by Kij Johnson are available for purchase online

The photo is my dinner date each evening, a young raccoon who climbs up onto my second-story deck and cleans all the leftover sunflower seeds and peanuts up. I often have only the screen door closed at that time of evening these days (because of the glorious weather), and she does not care in the least. I’ll hear her first in the gloom, small feet pushing through the leaves, the little exhales of her breath. If I make a noise, I’ll see her eyes and her mask peep up at me. She doesn’t care if I approach the door or the windows, or if I turn the outside lights on, or if I kneel by my full-length windows and snap a picture. Eventually she will climb back up on the deck railing, and let herself down over the gate at the top of the stairs, reversing her clever ankles to hold to the rail as she points face down and lowers herself. And then she is gone.

In other news, I am reading Ngaio Marsh’s short stories. She was mostly known as a writer of mystery novels, but her short fiction is also brilliantly crisp and to the point. This reminded me of Georgette Heyer’s short fiction, similarly perfect in its scale and craft — and this got me thinking how very, very good the genre writers of the first half of the twentieth century were. Rachael Sabatini, early Agatha Christie, H. G. Wells (who wrote much more than SF)…. Okay, there was plenty of atrocious stuff, too — romance writer E. M. Hull and SF author A. E. Van Vogt spring to mind — but when they were good, they were so very, very good.

Now, on to writing! Today has to be a mostly schoolwork day, but maybe I can push the rock uphill a little on American Tour first.